Game diaries

Game diaries are not AARs (after action reports). AARs are boring and often tedious, because they're just about what happened in the game. You know, like when some dude is telling you about his D&D campaign. Instead, a game diary is about our ongoing experience with a game. They were Let's Plays before Let's Plays were even a thing! They're arguably just as much about us as whatever game we're writing about. If you're interested in contributing a game diary to this site, we'd love to work with you! Please send an email to [email protected]

Latest Game diaries

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: that waifu that you do

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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”.

Continue reading →

Vietnam 1965-1975: building a history

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(This is the third entry in a weekly (or so) game diary by Bruce Geryk and Patrick Mullen about the boardgame Vietnam 1965-1975. The series starts here.)

For this American former fourteen-year old boy, invoking the Lens of History (the game seen through a historical lensas an alternate history) while playing Vietnam 1965-1975 begins the moment I start thinking about set up.

After the jump, starting at the beginning Continue reading →

Vietnam 1965-1975: definitive cardboard expressions

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(This is the second entry in a weekly (or so) game diary about the boardgame Vietnam 1965-1975. The series starts here.)

A few years ago, I wrote a game diary on this site that turned into an ongoing series that eventually became one of my favorite things I had written. The reason was that as I wrote, I found myself following the gameplay to my bookshelf, chasing the assumptions behind the mouseclicks, and turning my thoughts inside out to look at exactly how and why I was enjoying the game, the subject matter, and the very hobby I was embracing. It was completely unplanned, but also unstoppable.

One of the things that made this such a special project was the subject. Continue reading →

Brogue: appetite for destruction

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Previously, in the Brogue game diary…Brian’s monkey has burned to death, he’s found a ring of stealth, and he’s gone blind from drinking a darkness potion.

I head back down to depth 5, sticking close to the walls, until I find a shadowy alcove to hide in until my vision slowly recovers enough to venture onward. I find a potion that turns out to be Fire Immunity. I have not seen any fire on this level yet, though.

After the jump, say hello to my little ogre Continue reading →

Brogue: what you don’t know can kill you

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My name is Tony, and I’m an information addict.

I always knew I had these tendencies. It’s why I declared Invisible, Inc. the best game of 2015. Times are tough for people like me. If you ask Bruce Geryk, wargaming expert, for a computer wargame recommendation, he’ll ask to get back to you later. There aren’t any good computer wargames, because computer wargames are in the business of concealing information. (The discussion of why they do this is for another time, but it’s either because of “immersion,” “giving the computer a fighting chance by making the rules not-human-readable,” or both.)

After the jump, I can quit any time Continue reading →

Brogue: monkey, monkey, burning bright

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The first level presents little challenge. At this point, I’ve led enough doomed adventurers into the dungeon that I know there’s not much that can kill you here except inexperience and poor judgment. I’m taking a more cautious approach than usual, though. I’m deliberating over each choice, rather than barrelling through the early levels.

After the jump, the monkey business commences Continue reading →

Brogue: welcome to the dungeons of doom!

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In Brogue, gold means nothing. There are no shops. Gold has no weight and no value. And yet gold is in there. It’s in there because, for the 99.99999% of Brogue players who will never win the game, and that includes me, the amount of gold you have when you die is the sole determinant of what your final score will be, and where your nameless, classless, raceless character will end up on the high score list.

In Brogue, gold means everything. Continue reading →

Vietnam 1965-1975: rediscovering a wargaming masterpiece

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Vietnam 1965-1975 is a board wargame that I bought when I was 15 and then never played until I was 45. I purchased it the first time at a Comics and Game Store in Miami, Florida in 1986. That copy was destroyed by a hurricane in 1992. I promptly bought another copy. That copy was lost in a move in 1999. I bought another copy that year. That copy was misplaced. I bought another, and then a backup. Last year I found the misplaced copy. By my count, I have purchased this game six times. However, I played the game (my definition: against another opponent; solitaire play and pushing cardboard around does not count) for the first time in the spring of 2016. I currently have two games ongoing. I am about to begin a third with Bruce Geryk, which will be documented in a series of entries to be posted occasionally over the next several months.

After the jump, what’s so special about this game? Continue reading →

The Witcher 3: my get-up-and-go got up and Gwent

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Now that I’m playing The Witcher 3 in earnest, I’ve decided I’m going to ignore Gwent, the ingame collectible card game that Geralt can play to fritter away time and orens. As an erstwhile Pazzak player, Caravan player, SkyStones player, and GamePig owner, I know firsthand how much you can fritter away in an ingame game. So my Geralt will decide he has better things to do than play some Hearthstone clone. Besides, isn’t a standalone version of Gwent in the works? Wouldn’t playing Gwent in The Witcher 3 be like playing early access Gwent? I want no part of it. Which means I’ll have that much more money for things that actually matter! Like finally getting a haircut (pictured).

After the jump, here’s me not faffing about with cards. Continue reading →

The Witcher 3: Siri, find Ciri

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I’ll get around to finding my lost baby in Fallout 4 when I get around to it. Right now, I’m helping Cate kick her drug habit. I couldn’t care less about rescuing some captured rebel leader in Homefront: The Revolution — what was his name again? — which frees up plenty of time to liberate patches of territory. In Dying Light, uh, something about secret files. Who can be bothered to care when there are safehouses to be cleared, parkour races to run, and skills to level up? Name a game by Ubisoft that isn’t called Far Cry 2. I probably can’t tell you the first thing about the main storyline. All the better for all the Ubistuff that needs doing. There’s hardly a game with as rich a setting for side quests as Watch Dogs. One of the best things you can do for the side quests in an open-world game is a lousy main quest.

After the jump, ciriously cidetracked Continue reading →

The Witcher 3: consumer friendly

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In Dying Light, another game I’m catching up on these days, I can make five fire shurikens with a blade, some gauze, and a can of aerosol. So far, the blade and gauze are easy enough to find. But I also need the gauze for medkits, so tough choices must be made. The real bottleneck is the aerosol. I’m constantly on the lookout for aerosol. I’ll even buy it from merchants if they’re selling it. Every time I find an aerosol, I think, hey, now I’ve got five fire shurikens! Conversely, every time I throw a fire shuriken, I think, well, I’m going to need to find more aerosol. This fits well enough with a post-apocalypse. When the world ends, I expect to scavenge. I accept non-renewable resources as a facet of any apocalypse.

After the jump, you gotta spend to earn? Continue reading →

The Witcher 3: modern family

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Since this game diary will progress alongside my playing time with The Witcher 3, I should warn you there will be spoilers. Never before the jump. I’d hate to ruin anything for the casual skimmer of Quarter to Three who hasn’t played The Witcher 3 yet. But anything after the jump is fair game. I wouldn’t recommend going there unless you’ve made progress in the game yourself.

After the jump, Ciri has two daddies Continue reading →

The Witcher 3: words, words, words

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I have to really like a game to read its books. Actually, that’s true of pretty much any flavor text. But it’s especially true of ingame books. I suspect game developers think they’re tricking me by putting backstory into ingame books. They think I’ll read every single ingame book just in case it teaches me a spell or gives me experience points. They’re right. Finding a book and not opening it to see if anything happens is like finding a chest and not opening it. You just don’t do it.

After the jump, Nilfgaardian best sellers Continue reading →

The Witcher 3: My Geralt. Let me show you him.

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Stories are weaker when they have a blank slot where a protagonist should be. MMOs are a worst case example of this, because the developers — the storytellers — have no way of knowing what race, class, sex, or morality you’re playing. What sort of story would Star Wars be if George Lucas asked you, “Hey, should Luke give the droids to the Imperials or should he fly them to Alderaan?”

After the jump, how many paragon points are we talking about here? Continue reading →