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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…

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Blog: Me3 2021 – 06/16/21

ust got slapped in the face with video games, which as well know can only mean that E3 has taken place once again. But don’t confuse that with Game Fest, a thing that I think started before E3 and is lasting long after it. We’ve got like a dozen game-focused events popping off all summer, so this whole thing is a lot clumsier than it normally is. It’s a mess that’s only gotten messier thanks to a certain pandemic, and will only get worse as E3 flails around trying to grasp at those precious last breaths of relevance. But until that day comes, I guess I’m gonna just keep looking at headlines and trailers and regurgitating that stuff back onto this site with that patented “Ari Spice,” which sounds grosser than I wanted it to, but oh well…

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Blog: Up Next – 06/09/21

weeks ago, I’ve suddenly found myself with an overwhelming amount of games I want to play but haven’t made much time for just yet. Even worse is the fact that they didn’t miraculously appear on my various hard drives because I distinctly remember spending money on them, so I really should at least launch these games at some point. With that said, here are some of the games that are currently squatting on my hard drive, that I should probably address…

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Blog: Achievements & Site Updates – 06/02/21

There was a period of time, specifically before 2016 when I built my gaming computer, that I was deeply invested in the concept of Gamerscore and the achievement hunting that came along with it. I primarily played on Xbox and the Pavlovian response of hearing that delightful chime and getting a functionally useless reward that indicated I had unlocked an achievement was very exciting and fulfilling for me. But once I gravitated away from consoles and onto PC, I had to shake that particular monkey off of my back. Unfortunately for me and my sanity, I now own a modern Xbox console and have their subscription service which essentially just blasts me with new games every few weeks to play, keeping me planted squarely back on the achievement treadmill whether I like it or not…

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Blog: Knockout City – 05/26/21

It’s no secret that I’ve lost my passion for online competitive games as I’ve gotten older, but that doesn’t mean this old man isn’t still capable of stepping into the virtual ring and wreaking some havoc from time to time. While most people are playing those gun-shooting games I’ve opted to spend my time with EA’s newly released competitive dodge ball game, Knockout City, as opposed to the more murder-centric games people usually play. Much to my surprise, Knockout City is actually a pretty fun, albeit slim offering that was well worth the price of “free with Game Pass…”

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Blog: Down on the Town – 05/19/21

I initially planned on doing this two months ago, but time is an illusion at best these days and I just kind of missed it, but now seems as good as a time as any to talk about Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Like I said, this would’ve been more apt had it been the 1-year anniversary of its release, but I feel like the things I wanted to say then are still applicable a few months on. So with that said, I’d like to go over my brief love affair with the game and where our relationship stands today…