Archives for January 2014

Four Swords Free for 3DS (until Sunday)

Thanks to a tip from Laughter, I was pointed to a post over on Wii U Daily that Nintendo is giving Zelda Four Swords, the Gameboy Advance multi-Link Zelda game.

According to the post on Nintendo’s site:

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is GameSpot’s 2013 game of the year! We want to celebrate all things Hyrulian, so for a limited time we’re offering The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition for FREE!

I played a little of Four Swords back when it came out but never got a chance to play it very much. Now that we have four 3DSes in this household, we are always looking for ways to play something together. Having a little four-player Zelda should be great.

HELP! (By Playing Ascension With Me!)

Templar_320x480So I am on a bit of an Ascension kick at the moment and it’s becoming a problem — it’s all I want to play. I scour the “Find Games” section multiple times a day, looking to get a PvP fix. I’ve resorted to bragging to my mates on Google+ about my latest winning streak (current personal best: three wins in a row).

I’m not sure what has got me on this deck building kick. I was a backer for HEX: Shards of Fate (which I recognize isn’t a deck building game, but work with me here). I play HEX when I get a chance, but HEX doesn’t fit in my pocket, so I started messing around with Ascension. I bought it ages ago but never really gave it much of a thought after playing a game or two. But I picked it up again this week and can’t put it down. It’s taking everything in my power not to buy all the expansions at once and to savor the first expansion for a little while.

So if you play Ascension in any form, let me know. I’m “i_aint_yer_pa” and I’m always on the look out for a new game.

A Warning to the Makers of Candy Crush Saga

Two years ago, the three of us at Stoic set out to make an epic viking game: The Banner Saga. We did, and people loved it, so we’re making another one. We won’t make a viking saga without the word Saga, and we don’t appreciate anyone telling us we can’t. King.com claims they’re not attempting to prevent us from using The Banner Saga, and yet their legal opposition to our trademark filing remains. We’re humbled by the outpouring of support and honored to have others stand with us for the right to their own Saga. We just want to make great games.

The above statement was issued today by Stoic to Kotaku.com. As stated, The Banner Saga (released 14 January 2014 for PC and Mac) is being targeted by King, creator of Candy Crush Saga, the wildly successful mobile ‘freemium’ puzzle game.

Earlier this week news spread throughout the internet about King’s endeavor to protect its intellectual property by trademarking the word ‘Candy’. This action has far-reaching implications, beyond mobile games, and has caused all kinds of knee-jerk reactions from many different camps. The PR department has been scrambling ever since to mop up the slippery slop that has uncontrollably squirted out of the behinds of, ultimately, the company’s legal advisers. Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Even so, recognizing the fallout of such foolish decision making, you’d think the decision-makers at King would tread forward but lightly so. As of yesterday, this doesn’t appear to be the case because, in a boneheaded move, now they are pushing to claim the term ‘saga’, and, in the end, are filing against Stoic’s The Banner Saga, which could force the independent developer to change the current (and any future) game’s name.

It is a common and thorny situation in gaming. Part of what makes it so interesting is that the gaming industry is charging forward with such fervor that the laws simply can’t keep up. So we have this perpetual gray area, this wild wild west of intellectual property where companies like King are seeking to stake a claim on whatever they can – Especially now in the months preceding toppling off the treacherous summit of mobile gaming. YEEEEHAWWwww!!!! Did you hear that? It’s a death rattle.

But, again, just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Sure, King can throw the book, but what’s going to bite them in the butt is this PR mess. Earlier this week I paid little mind to those who may be affected by the ‘candy’ situation. But now the saga advances forward to PC gaming, and this hits a little closer to home. Not that I’m taking this knuckleheaded move personally, but I do believe that heavy-handed money grubbing actions like such coming from a 15-minute spectacle like King can slow the ebb and flow of innovation. Even King’s released ‘justifications’ for its actions against The Banner Saga, posted and critiqued with vehemence on so many gaming websites, are only hurting the company’s ability to not only rebound from this mess but to gain any traction for anything they do in the future, which, isn’t it funny, is exactly what they’re aiming to protect with these trademarks.

So listen here, King. And listen good:

Walk away, Son. Walk away. Even by so much as meddling with The Banner Saga you are provoking forces you will not be able to control nor recover from, no matter how many loose-bowel lawyers you’ve got standing downwind. Frankly, you were fine pursuing other glitzy mobile games but now you are poking the bear. Go out now with some semblance of dignity or your precious trademarks will be smeared with your own guts and flotsam. Don’t mess with the PC gaming community – especially the indie titles. They are the gems of what it right and true about gaming. They are the future and they will be defended with utmost voracity. You have chosen to flaunt and misuse a confusing branch of intellectual property law, one that has a proclivity to trigger adverse emotional responses. Even if the implications of your legal endeavors are not fully understood you are antagonizing an enemy whose abundance of modes and avenues will be used to swarm and pummel you from every direction, the book be damned.

Weekend Gaming

I have decided that I needed to clean-up my gaming habits a little bit. It has been too scatter-shot for too long. I’d start a game and then another MUST-PLAY would come along and I’d drop whatever I had been playing to start playing this new hotness, leaving a trail of not-even-half-finished games in my wake. No more! I am committing to taking a little more of a Getting Things Done approach to my gaming. I’m limiting myself to playing just a couple games at a time. That means concentrating on those games and seeing them through to completion (or until they no longer hold my attention, which may be much sooner than ever getting close to the end). Once I settle on a couple games, I reserve the right to still play some pick-up-and-play games, like Spelunky or Super Meat Boy, when I just need a quick hit of gaming and I’m not settling in for an hour plus gaming session.

So the two games I’m currently focusing on are Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on the 3DS (which is top-notch so far) and starting the single player campaign over in Halo 4. So that’s where I plan on spending the bulk of my gaming time this weekend. With some Spelunky sprinkled in when I can because Good Lord that game is good.

What are you going to play this weekend?

January Releases

Well, after a ruckus holiday, we’re back to a new year of releases and we are no longer looking forward to the Next Generation. We are now in the Next Generation. This month is relatively harmless, so feel free to stick with what you picked up for the holidays and the Steam Sale. Not much to see here. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of January 28th
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Week of January 28th
Tomb Raider Game of the Year
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z

Week of January 7th
Wii Fit U w/Fit Meter

No January releases for the Nintendo 3DS.

Week of January 7th
METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE – ALL CAPS MEANS BUSINESS.

Week of January 14th
Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD

Week of January 21st
Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny

PS4 Banner

Week of January 28th
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Week of January 28th
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z
Tomb Raider Game of the Year

No January releases for the Sony PSVita.

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

2013 Fun Games of the Year

If you’ve read this site for any period of time, you know that we’ve always shied away from naming a “Game of the Year.” The reasons are many, but mostly come down to the fact that we don’t have time to play everything and saying something is the “Best” of “the Year” reduces games to some arbitrary set of factors that qualify it as the best. I don’t have the time nor authority to make such proclamations.

We, in the end, play games for fun. To be entertained, to be challenged, but ultimately to have fun. So that’s what we’ve done every year — reflect on which games we had the most fun with this year.

First, a quick list of games I picked up in the last couple of weeks (or planning on buying) that seem to be on everyone’s year end list that I haven’t got to yet: Super Mario 3D World, Brothers, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Fire Emblem: Awakening. They all look tremendously fun (although Fire Emblem’s Permadeath is hardly ever fun) but they didn’t make the cut.

To be honest, 2013 wasn’t the greatest year for me and playing new games. Time and resources were in short supply. And there wasn’t anything the jumped out and grabbed me as a must have until the end of the year, anyway.

The Fun Game of the Year that didn’t come out in 2013 was: Super Meat Boy. I’m really bummed I didn’t jump on the Super Meat Boy train earlier. This game is tremendous. This game falls into that same realm of accomplishment that Portal and Portal 2 did — whereas solving a level in Portal 2 bestowed the feeling of superior intellect, getting through a Super Meat Boy level (and grading out an A+, of course) makes you feel like you are Billy freaking Mitchell, the greatest video game player that ever played in the history of gaming.

Super Meat Boy is pixel-perfect platforming, challenging, unrelenting, brutal, disgustingly tricky and ultimately fair and balanced.

The game is over three years old. You’ve probably read it all before — the music is great, the controls are perfect and the game is just fun. Straight-up video game fun. I wish I would have played it sooner. This definitely would have been on 2010’s list.

(Runner up: Mark of the Ninja)

And the Buttonmasher’s Fun Game of the Year is: State of Decay!

Wow! State of Decay? Another zombie game?

Sure, why not? When I started writing a review for State of Decay, I described it as, “one part GTA’s open world, two parts Dead Rising’s zombie brawler (minus the good fighting mechanics), sprinkle in some Animal Crossing and a dash of Fire Emblem and you’ve got State of Decay for the Xbox 360.” (Fire Emblem? Permadeath.)

State of Decay is the first zombie game that deals with the topic covered by the show “The Walking Dead” — how do you survive? There isn’t a helicopter on its way in 48 hours to rescue you from the mall. You’re stuck here, so what are you going to do about it? And who are you going to trust?

State of Decay has its issues, the wonky fighting mechanics being the most egregious one. But overlooking the little nits and concentrating on what the game tried to do and what it was successful doing puts this game in the top tier of my favorite Xbox 360 games and it’s my 2013 Fun Game of the Year

(FGotY runner up: Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Runners up runner up: Bioshock Infinite and Halo 4)

As you can see, I didn’t really play a lot of new games this year. I hope to remedy that in 2014 with a new console and new approach to how I play games.

What was your Fun Game of the Year?

The Holiday Haul

We had quite the Nintendo Holiday around the buttonmashing household — we added to more 3DS XLs to the mix (along with Pokemon X, Luigi’s Mansion and New Super Mario Brothers 2) and we added the coup de grace:

Special Wind Waker Wii-U

I also gifted myself a copy of the new Zelda 3DS game, A Link Between Worlds, but I haven’t had time to pop that into the system.

All in all, along with the games I picked up in the Steam Sale, I’m flush with new games going in to the new year.

What was under your tree?