Archives for August 2013

Weekend Gaming

I have been absent around these parts for far too long, so a big thanks goes out to Nick for holding the fort down with some regular posting. I’m still trying to encourage him to post his enstrangement from EVE, but the wound may be too close to the surface at the moment.

This weekend is my last weekend before college football starts, which is usually a turning point for my gaming time, as weekends are spent watching hours of college football (much to my wife’s dismay, I’m sure).

So I hope to cram in some serious gaming this weekend. I’d like to finish Bioshock Infinite and get a little more time with State of Decay. I’m still playing Animal Crossing on the 3DS, so there’s that, too. Oh, and the two free games from Microsoft (Crackdwon and Dead Rising 2) have me a little nostalgic so I’ve gone back to Fortune City for a little zombie slaying, so there will be that, as well.

What are you playing this weekend?

Enshrined Games: Europa Universalis III

Eu3-win-cover

Paradox Interactive is well-known for their grand historical strategy games. Their flagship franchise just released its fourth title this past Tuesday: Europa Universalis 4. So far the game is being warmly accepted by gamers, both Paradox veterans and the legions of new players that the developer’s other recent game, Crusader Kings 2, attracted into the fold. As a self-proclaimed Paradox fanboy I am neither a veteran or newcomer. My timely history with Paradox began perhaps five years ago. And the only reason I was able to soundly navigate my way through the EU 4 demo is because of the hours and hours and hours and hours and hours I spent playing its predecessor Europa Universalis 3. Considering this, it is easy to let out a chuckle of mirth as I remember the very first time I sat down with EU3:

EU3Dog2

My time with EU3 concluded a multi-year gap in gaming – a gap not of my own choice, mind you. I did not have the hardware until our new family was graciously gifted an HP Inspirion laptop. And even then, grateful that I was/am to have it, the computer was limited in its capacity to play games. I saw the EU3 for $5 at Half-Priced Books. The game is not heavy on the graphics, though there is much going on ‘under the hood’. Therefore, the laptop satisfied the minimum system requirements. Yes. I was aching to play something/anything. And I enjoy history. So I jumped in.

The packaging included a 148-page player’s manual. Not a strategy guide; a manual. 148 pages. For a manual. Of Mice and Men is 112 pages. Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography is 136 pages. And here is this company with the gall to create a game so detailed, so complex, that it needs a one-hundred-frikking-forty-eight-page manual. And you know what – I read that sucker cover to cover. I embraced the infamous Paradox Interactive learning curve. It was a challenge that perhaps I would not have undertaken if I hadn’t played a video game in soooooo long!

EU3BF1

Fantastic bathroom reading, right here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that I think of it, EU3 was my first exposure to meta gaming. This was the first time I involved myself with gaming message boards. I freakishly lurked the Paradox forums, reading about player strategies and furthering my understanding of the mechanics. And then Paradox started releasing expansions, one after another after another (The vanilla was terrible, but I didn’t know any better). The forums kept the gameplay fresh and fun.

All elements combined – the monster manual (though incredibly outdated by the third expansion), message boards, new releases – made for a wildly complex and all together satisfactory experience. I had memorable campaigns as: a market-driven Norway, though I didn’t quite get to creating Scandinavia; the Eastern European Muscowy, struggling to keep up with its western neighbors while, on the opposing borders, fighting back the advancing Golden Horde (this was a good one!); and Liguria, a Northwestern Italian province that I expanded to command the Mediterranean. The objective needn’t always be global domination – a characteristic that will always gives Paradox an advantage over the Total War games. Paradox gives the power to pervert history in so many delicious ways.

Indeed, altering history on such an immense scale so soon after my bleak period of non-gaming had really made an impression. Europa Universalis 3’s modest system requirements and detailed gameplay brought me out of the dark ages and into a place of power. The couch was my throne; The laptop my government. My ambition endless as the cycle of time itself. Hail the king, baby.

August Releases

It snuck up on me once again! This is bad, over a week into the month. I’m going to blame it on being August — I sincerely thought this month was going to be pretty bereft of top-tier games, what with a new console generation almost upon us. Boy was I wrong!

Week of August 13th
Payday 2
DISNEY INFINITY Starter Pack
Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff

Week of August 20th
Saints Row IV
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist – Splinter Cell was the first one that caught me off guard. I knew that there was one more SC game coming before we moved on to the Xbox One, but I completely forgot about this one. I have loved Splinter Cell since the first one (I played it on the Gamecube!) so I’ll definitely be checking out Blacklist.
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified – I still have XCOM sitting in my Steam library, patiently waiting for me to give it some attention.

Week of August 27th
Painkiller: Hell and Damnation
Madden NFL 25 – Usually August meant the newest Madden and not a whole lot more. I played the firt Madden on my PC (and it was a 486!)
Killer is Dead
Lost Planet 3 – After two previous games, it’s not really lost, is it?
ArcaniA: The Complete Collection

Week of August 6th
Pikmin 3 – This game is causing me the first real pangs of not having a Wii-U yet.

Week of August 13th
Angry Birds Trilogy
Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff

Week of August 20th
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist – The gamepad screen could make this game AMAZING.
DISNEY INFINITY Starter Pack Wii U

Week of August 27th
New Super Luigi U – The second pangs of sorrow.

Week of August 13th
Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff
Mario and Luigi: Dream Team

Week of August 13th
PAYDAY 2
DuckTales: Remastered
Europa Universalis IV
Worms Clan Wars

Week of August 20th
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist
Saints Row IV
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Week of August 27th
PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate – Wasn’t this a Facebook game at some point? I seemed to really have been into it for a week or two. I may have to check this out if it hits Steam.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn

Week of August 6th
Dragon’s Crown
Air Conflicts Pacific Carriers
Tales of Xillia

Week of August 13th
Payday 2

Week of August 20th
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist
Saints Row IV

Week of August 27th
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Lost Planet 3
Killer is Dead
Madden NFL 25
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F
ArcaniA: The Complete Collection
Painkiller: Hell and Damnation

Week of August 6th
Dragon’s Crown

Week of August 20th
The Walking Dead

What are you picking up?

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