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Blog: Changes – 08/25/21

I’ve been trying to put off this blog post for as long as I could, but there’s no more delaying the inevitable. This blog post will be the last one in this format. For as much as I’ve enjoyed putting up weekly content, there’s no denying that it’s gotten harder for me to maintain the pace, let alone the enthusiasm required to produce something worth reading with this regularity. But it doesn’t mean that The Bonus World is over, far from it actually. But this is going to be an adjustment…

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Blog: Rogue Strife – 08/18/21

knowing that hasn’t stopped me from giving last year’s critically acclaimed Hades another shot when it released on Game Pass a few days ago. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about with Hades while possibly seeing if the, “it’s a roguelike for people who don’t like roguelikes” claim had any truth to it, and possibly changing my first impression with the game last year. Ultimately, I didn’t end up falling in love with the genre or Hades at all. I think I can explain it though…

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The Master of Disaster: Wanderlust – 21

I’ve often heard from other creative-minded folks that one of their biggest problems is actually following through on an idea or a concept. I know I’ve encountered that a whole lot on this very website what with all the “grand plans” that never come to fruition, but instead of examining every aspect of my life that’s been a letdown, I want to look at this problem through the lens of running campaigns in Dungeons & Dragons. I’m always thinking of the next grand adventure I can take my players on even if it’s at the expense of what we’re actively doing, and that’s not great…

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Blog: Storied Stories – 08/11/21

One of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older is how it’s become harder and harder for me to dedicate the time and attention to story-focused games. There was a period of time throughout the last decade where you’d get games like The Walking Dead that told a great story, but didn’t really do anything interesting from a gameplay perspective. But despite not being anything special on the gameplay front, The Walking Dead’s story and writing were so good that none of its shortcomings outweighed its strengths. I also don’t want to imply that it’s a one-or-the-other kind of situation where story-focused games can’t have good gameplay or vice versa, because there are plenty of games that have delivered on both elements. Regardless, I wanted to highlight some of my favorite story-focused games that I’ve played over the past few years that I think are well worth your time, if you, unlike myself, can actually dedicate time to these kinds of games anymore…

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Blog: Whatcha Playing? – 08/04/21

plane. Probably should avoid using plane metaphors considering a big plane-based video game did just release on consoles, and I did not play that because I value my hard drive space. Anyway, here are some of the games I’ve been tinkering around with this past week…

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Blog: Under Achievement Hunter – 07/28/21

I have this Pavlovian response every time I unlock an achievement that triggers a bit of joy and validation whenever that pleasant little notification pops up. The numbers don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things, but I sure do enjoy seeing my total score inflate with every game I play. But even that shot of dopamine that I get from these little micro-celebrations aren’t enough to make me fully engage with the idea of achievement hunting. No, for me it’s been a long career of just playing everything I could first, while paying attention to the achievement list second. It’s a scattershot approach that’s worked for me in the past, even if it’s been financially ruinous, but it’s an approach that’s unsustainable for me currently…

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Blog: The Quiet Year – 07/15/21

I’m not gonna name any names here, but someone may have forgotten what day it was and never scheduled a blog post to go up. Whoops. Regardless, I want to talk about a game that I got to play a couple of times over the past few days called The Quiet Year by Avery Alder. The Quiet Year is a cartography-focused, world building game for 2-4 players that heavily relies on improvisational skills and social contracts between friends that will inevitably be broken. It’s a ton of fun…

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Blog: Double Dashed – 07/07/21

I’ve often heard it said that everyone has a favorite Mario Kart game and it’s directly associated with whichever one was released when you were a kid. It’s rarely a conversation about if someone likes Mario Kart, but rather which one they like the most. So maybe it comes across as some sort of weird sacrilegious thing when I posit that I don’t think I like Mario Kart as a concept, especially after having played a particularly beloved entry in the series for a few hours. Let me explain…

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Blog: Game Tourist – 06/30/21

anaged to get me into Star Wars Galaxies, an incredibly popular MMO at the time that ran from about 2003 to 2011. This game was significant to me both because it was one of the first real games that my new friends and I could bond over, but also because it was the first and last game that I can remember religiously playing. Star Wars Galaxies was a daily event for us and was often times our congregation point as friends. Nowadays I see people playing things like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, League of Legends and Destiny 2, all of which have these thriving communities around them that kind of leave me feeling wistful when I think about them even though I know I could never engage with games like that ever again…

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Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance

Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance isn’t a very good video game. Some might even go as far as to say that it’s a bad video game, a take that I don’t know that I fully disagree with if we’re being honest, but it does paint the game in an absolute and irredeemable light, which I don’t believe is the case here. Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance is a rough, buggy, clunky game that should have been better, but it misses the mark in so many ways, ranging from combat to its core structure that it will surely require some hefty patches to get it to a recommendable state.,,

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Blog: Blast That Gunk – 06/23/21

course I’m talking about the current front-runner for Game of the Year, PowerWash Simulator, a game that’s irrefutable evidence of the fact that we have jumped the shark when it comes to simulator ideas. But despite how objectively ridiculous it is that this game exists at all, I’m so grateful that it does…

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The Master of Disaster: Tone – 20

When I first started running games my gut instinct was to try and make my sessions all be well rounded, providing drama, comedy, excitement and so on and so forth, all at once. The idea was that one person would have a funny quest for players while another would have a more dour objective for them. That’s how it kind of works in video games, so why wouldn’t it work here? Well it wasn’t that it couldn’t work here, it was more that it sometimes led to a sense of emotional whiplash. The party would go from joking with a bartender while breaking the fourth wall, to talking to a grieving widow who is desperate to uncover the culprit for her partner’s murder. It was tonally inconsistent in a way that was very noticeable. More to the point, it made keeping my players engaged and role-playing, incredibly difficult…

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E3 2021: What’s Looking Good, Everyone Else?

It’s hard to tell where Summer Game Fest began and E3 ended but some combination of those events took place over the past few days, so instead of trying to make heads or tails of the schedule I just figured I’d plop all of my miscellaneous conference highlights here. Sure we had big presentations from Microsoft and Nintendo, but a couple of smaller events bolstered the show by just announcing a deluge of games…

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E3 2021: What’s Looking Good, Nintendo?

Even though it’s been a few days since E3 2021 actually wrapped up and our collective consciousness is rapidly moving away from the event itself, there’s still a lot to say about what we saw on display. Today’s subject is none other than the purveyors of the plumber, the masters of the mustache, Nintendo…

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E3 2021: What’s Looking Good, Microsoft?

E3 2021: What’s Looking Good, Microsoft?

We should begin by laying out some facts right off the bat and acknowledge a few truths about the current situation as it applies to the video game industry, but more specifically E3 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic really hampered so much development by forcing it out of the collaborative spaces of offices and into peoples homes. It also severely disrupted supply lines and manufacturing pipelines to such a degree that every electronics company is grappling with component shortages. Also worth considering is the fact that E3 is a show that’s been desperately searching for an identity for quite some time now, only to really feel the pressure after not having a conference at all last year. Knowing all of that led me to believe that I should temper my expectations for this year, but despite the middling status of E3 as a show, some of the presenters brought some really interesting stuff that I’m actually pretty excited for…