March Releases

I’m going to be out of town the majority of the month of March, which means gaming will be light for me. But there are a couple decent games coming out that have been on my watchlist for a while. I just don’t know when I’ll get to play them. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of March 3rd
ScreamRide – Front runner for “Worst Boxart of 2015″.

Week of March 10th
DMC Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition

Week of March 17th
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
Battlefield Hardline
Resident Evil: Revelations 2

Week of March 24th
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection

Week of March 31st
BLADESTORM: Nightmare


Week of March 3rd
ScreamRide

Week of March 10th
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition

Week of March 17th
Battlefield Hardline

Week of March 31st
Ultimate Stealth Triple Pack – These “Ultimate Triple Packs” seem like an intriguing idea.
Ultimate Action Triple Pack


Week of March 17th
Mario Party 10


Week of March 10th
Etrian Mystery Dungeon – Everytime an Etrian Odyssey game comes out I think “this time I’m going to pick it up. Still haven’t played one. Probably won’t get to this one, either.
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.

Week of March 31st
Story of Seasons


Week of March 3rd
Tallowmere
White Night – I really like the way this game looks. Very stylized.
Shiftlings
Tormentum – Dark Sorrow
FranknJohn – Bonk’s Adventure 2015?
FORCED 2: The Rush
Savage Lands – You’re not going to believe this — another survival game!

Week of March 10th
Professional Lumberjack 2015 – Not to be confused with “Amateuer Lumberjack 2015″. Feel like they really missed a golden opportunity here by not going with Lumberjack Simulator or FlannelCraft or something.
Reign Of Kings – If you only click on one link in this list, PLEASE let it be Reign of Kings and watch the trailer video. You will not be disappointed. Actually, you might be very disappointed. But at least you’ll get a good laugh or two out of it.
Assassin’s Creed® Rogue
Cities: Skylines
Ori and the Blind Forest

Week of March 17th
Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas – Nope, not Zelda at all. Totally not Zelda.
Aware – Taking the survival game to a whole new level — race to repair your plane before your friend does so you can fly away in your one-seat plane without her! Nevermind the two of you flew there in the plane, there’s just one seat!
Hektor
Ride

Week of March 24th
Pillars of Eternity – I won’t be around to game much this month, but I will definitely be picking up Pillars when it comes out — because I backed it on Kickstarter back in the day. I’ve followed it’s development and am anxious to get this in my grubby hands.

Week of March 31st
DEAD OR ALIVE® 5 Last Round


PS4 Banner

Week of March 10th
Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition

Week of March 17th
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
Battlefield Hardline
Resident Evil: Revelations 2

Week of March 31st
MLB 15: The Show
Toukiden: Kiwami
BLADESTORM: Nightmare


Week of March 10th
Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters
Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition

Week of March 17th
Battlefield Hardline

Week of March 31st
MLB 15: The Show
Ultimate Stealth Triple Pack
Ultimate Action Triple Pack


Week of March 10th
Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters

Week of March 24th
LEGO Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin

Week of March 31st
MLB 15: The Show
Toukiden: Kiwami

What are you picking up this month?
(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.)

New Buttonmashing Deal: Destiny [PS4, PS3, Xbox 360]

February Releases

I’ve decided to branch out my monthly release list to include new releases on Steam. I guess with my current state of gamer-dom being PC-oriented, this was inevitable (a post on that should be forthcoming). I’d like to eventually include releases on Xbox Live, the Nintendo eShop and the Playstation Network, but for this month, Steam is the only newcomer. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of February 10th
Evolve

Week of February 17th
DEAD OR ALIVE 5 Last Round – This most be some SERIOUS BUSINESS if (a) the title is in ALL CAPS and (b) it’s the “Last Round”. (I’m guessing it’s never going to be the “Last Round” for Dead or Alive)

Week of February 24th
Dragon Ball Xenoverse
DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 Empires – Dynasty Warriors wants to get in on the ALL CAPS ACTION!
Rugby 15


Week of February 24th
Dragon Ball Xenoverse


Week of February 17th
Kirby & The Rainbow Curse


Week of February 10th
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D – Two strong offerings from Nintendo this month. I need to finish A Link Between Worlds.


Week of February 3rd
Cities XXL
Stay Dead Evolution
Darkest Dungeon
Astray
Grow Home
Front Office Football Seven
Castle In The Darkness
Fractured Soul

Week of February 10th
MX vs. ATV: Supercross Encore Edition
Evolve – It’s been a long time since I’ve bought a PC game a full retail price (Diablo 3 was probably the last one) but I think I will definitely make Evolve my first gaming purchase of 2015.
Cubicity
Block N Load – This game looks like a blast (pun intended)
Savage Lands

Week of February 17th
Total War: ATTILA

Week of February 24th
Trainz: A New Era – The addition of the “z” at the end of Trainz makes me sad.
Resident Evil Revelations 2


PS4 Banner

Week of February 10th
Evolve

Week of February 17th
The Order: 1886
DEAD OR ALIVE 5 Last Round

Week of February 24th
Dragon Ball Xenoverse
DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 Empires
Rugby 15


Week of February 24th
Dragon Ball Xenoverse
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late
Rugby 15


Week of February 3rd
Criminal Girls: Invite Only

Week of February 24th
Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart

What are you picking up this month?
(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.)

Weekend Gaming

Well, as you can see from the picture above, I’ll be doing some PC gaming this weekend. I recently built myself a new gaming PC to replace my aging gaming laptop. I have some thoughts about my gaming laptop experience and thoughts about finding myself drifting away from being a console gamer and becoming entrenched in the PC gaming landscape, but those are posts for another day.

This weekend will be all about getting the new PC fully operational and decked out. I documented the progression of putting the system together with my cohorts, but I’ll include you all in the details soon. Needless to say, I am ready to play some games on this bad boy! I have already downloaded Dota 2 (because duh and because I wanted to see it in all its high settings glory), Endless Legend (because it chugged on my old system), Dishonored and The Walking Dead Season 2. The next order of business this afternoon will be to install Origin and download Dragon Age: Inquisition. There are tons of other games I’d like to play, but that’s a good start.

So I’ll be PC gaming this weekend — what are you going to play?

Read in 2014

I am blatantly stealing this idea from Zack. I love reading his post every year and use it to add books to my ever-growing list of “To Read” on goodreads.com. While my list of books read in 2014 wasn’t very long, hopefully it’s still interesting:

The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution: The Slow Motion Exercise That Will Change Your Body in 30 Minutes a Week by Fredrick Hahn, Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades (181)

2014 was the year to get back to good health and get back in shape. I had heard about this Slow Fitness Revolution listening to a podcast and thought I’d give it a looksee. To be completely honest, this book wasn’t that helpful. This book could have been 50 pages shorter if they had just got right to the point of the advantages of this work-out mindset. A lot of time was spent needlessly using examples where one or two would have had the same effect. I have some doubts that 30+ minutes a week will be sufficient to get in better shape, but I am willing to give this a try.

Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life by Chris Kresser (416)

The other half of the getting healthy was changing my diet. I did the Atkins Low Carb diet years ago (to great success) but it wasn’t something I could maintain long term. After reading about the Paleo Diet for years, I figured I’d see if I could make it work. Chris Kresser’s approach to the strict Paleo way of life is one of adaption and experimentation. It starts with a 30-day reset where you eliminate all the process foods, sugars, grain, dairy and other harmful food. Once you’ve gone through this cleanse, you slow add back foods like diary and starch back into your diet to see how your body reacts to them. A lot of people’s health problems stem for allergic reactions to things the body can do without (gluten, lactose). Eliminating them and then figuring out how your body reacts are keep components to this “lifestyle”. He calls it you personal code because everyone’s body is different and requires a personalized approach to nutrition.

In addition to the nurtritional side, Kresser also examines and teaches the improtance of things like eliminating stress, having meaningful activity and “play time” (he even advocates a small amount of video gaming, recognizing the benefit such as hand-to-eye coordination) and getting a good night’s rest. It’s all about taking care of your body, and frankly, we don’t do a very good job of it.

As a testament to how much this book effected me, I lost over 30 pounds over the period of a few months and have been able to keep almost all of it off for almost a year now. I fell off the wagon for a bit during the holidays, but I’ve adjusted my diet and I can already feel the difference.

To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer (216)

Not quite sci-fi, definitely not fantasy but there is some quasi-religious and metaphysical musings going on here. And maybe a touch of fictional history. The story follows Sir Richard Francis Burton (a real historic figure, a very interesting one at that) as he dies and is “reborn” in a strange location referred to as “The Riverworld”. This isn’t the afterlife (or is it?) nor is it purgatory (or is it?) but there are millions (billions) of other humans being resurrected all around him. The story follows Burton and a group of people from different times (including an alien responsible for the destruction of humanity and a neanderthal) as he tries to figure out what’s going on.

Riverworld is actually a series of books, but TYSBG is an enjoyable stand-alone novel.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (195)

Annihilation came out in 2014 (it’s not very often I actually read something contemporary like this) and received critical praise and popularity. It was described as a sort of Lovecraftian-mystery, with hints of “weird” science fiction.

I didn’t love it. The story follows four nameless women (only known by their professions — surveyor, anthropologist etc) as they enter “Area X”, an area that has been shrouded in mystery and has effected every expedition that ventured into it in different ways. This is the twelfth expedition (or is it?) and the story is narrated by the Anthropologist. Is she reliable? Is everything she sees real? The book started out promising, but I found myself losing steam as I made my way through it.

Annihilation is a trilogy, but unlike To Your Scattered Bodies Go, it doesn’t stand on as its own as a complete novel. I’m not sure I’ll make it through the trilogy.

The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia (301)

An interesting take on a lot of different popular topics — gender roles, humanity, politics. An enjoyable and pretty quick read. I’m not comfortable with the man/machine relationship when it comes to love and this book handles it a bit clumsily. But the Steampunk and Sci-Fi setting mixed with some fantasy is an enjoyable setting.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins (415)

I finished the first two books a while ago, but after letdown reading the second book, I wasn’t motivated to read the 3rd until I knew the movie would be coming out. I enjoyed the third installment of The Hunger Games much more than I did the second. I know a lot of people complained of how quickly things came to a conclusion in the second (and some say of the third) but I thought the pacing and action of the third was well balanced and very enjoyable.

And without spoiling anything, it ended how I hoped it would.

So that was my reading list for 2014. A total of 1,724 pages.

What did you read last year?

Books (and pages) read in 2013: Five books (1,546 pages)

Tony’s 2014 Game of the Year – 2 Much Dota 2

We neglected to do “Game of the Year” posts last year. Previously we used to do “Fun Game of the Year” lists where we’d talk about the games we had the most fun with that particular year. We’re going back to our roots and posting our “Game of the Year” posts this year.

For me, my game of the year did not come out in 2014. It actually went into beta in 2011. Heck, it’s conception didn’t even happen in this decade — it’s a revamped version of a Warcraft III mod that was popular almost ten years ago. It went out of beta in 2013. And yet it’s the game that has held my attention longer than any other game not named EVE: Online.

I could spend a month’s worth of posts explaining why Dota 2 consumed so much of my time. The short list includes:

  • “Quick”, concise games – I know what I’m committing to when I hit “Play” in Dota 2. This isn’t going to be a marathon gaming session. It will be between 40-60 minutes. There will be no do-overs, no quick saves. Just me, my team and uninterrupted mayhem.
  • Over 100 heroes to learn and love (and hate) – It takes a while to get used to any one hero and it takes HOURS to get “good”. I would say I am “good” with about ten heroes. There are some I don’t care if I ever play. There are probably another 20-25 I’d like to get better at.
  • Never the same game twice – (Which is ironic to say because it’s the EXACT same game EVERY TIME) With two teams of five heroes each, the combinations are limitless. Add in varying skill levels and teammate competency and you’ve go the ingredients for infinite variety.
  • Free to play, pay to be different – This is actually going to be the subject of its own post, but I used to think free-to-play games that offer character customization (flair, if you will) was no way to run a free to play game. After having spent more on Dota 2 than I would buying a triple-A title, I have to say that Valve got free-to-play “right”.
  • The pro scene – I sometimes compare the pro Dota 2 scene to professional golf. Golf is a game that has a low enough bar for entry that just about anyone can play it. At the same time, the level of play of professionals is so advanced, no weekend warrior will ever be as good. But they are playing essentially the same game. Other pro sports are not like that. Your yearly Turkey Bowl with you buddies is not and will never be the Super Bowl. Dota 2 enthusiasts can watch a Dota 2 pro match and understand the strategy and gameplay and think “I could do that”.
  • I am a collector and stats whore – See above about customizing your character for the collector part — I love my Dota 2 inventory. But if you’ve followed this blog since the beginning, you’ll know how much of a stats whore I am (Halo 3, for instance). There is a ton of data generated during each match of Dota 2, and there are great sites like dotabuff.com that will aggregate and present it so you can brag to your friends after that great 20-3-15 game.

juggernaut

Yes, the game has a community that is usually toxic but there are always pleasant little surprises sprinkled in among the dreck. If you find some dudes that don’t disparage your manhood nor question your ancestry (like the guys in the Buttonmashing Steam Group!), team up with them again. It’s safer to go into the Swamps of Sadness with some mates.

Even though there is a lot, this post is just scratching the surface. I’d really like to delve deeper into some of the games mechanics and concepts and the things that you can do around the periphery of the game as the year goes on. So I hope you like reading about Dota 2, because I sure like it as a game!

January Releases

Here are the video game releases for the month of January 2015.

It looks like this will be a great month to work on that backlog and play some games you’ve been meaning to get to without worrying about what games are coming out this month, because quite honestly, there’s not a whole lot to write home about. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of January 20th
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected + Gat out of Hell

Week of January 27th
Dying Light
DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 Empires – CLEARLY THE CAPITAL LETTERS ARE IMPORTANT


Week of January 20th
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell


No new releases for the Nintendo Wii U in January


No new releases for the Nintendo 3DS in January


Week of January 20th
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell

Week of January 27th
Grand Theft Auto V
Dying Light


PS4 Banner

Week of January 20th
Motorcycle Club
Saints Row IV: Re-Elected + Gat out of Hell

Week of January 27th
DYNASTY WARRIORS 8 Empires
Dying Light


Week of January 20th
Saints Row: Gat out of Hell
Motorcycle Club


Week of January 27th
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation

What are you picking up this month?
(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.)

Weekend Gaming

It’s the first weekend of the new year, hopefully everyone has some new games the need to be played, either from the holiday gift-giving festivities or from taking advantage of the deals available to gamers everywhere (is it just me, or were the Steam Sales really disappointing this year? Are we spoiled gamers? Did Valve and other publishers tire of giving away their stuff for next to nothing?)

We got some new games in the Buttonmashing household, including Disney Infinity 2.0 and Super Smash Bros. Wii U, so I hope to get a little time with the little buttonmashers throwing down in SSB (where I literally have no idea what I’m doing and I get by on my buttonmashing skills honed over the last twenty years). I didn’t pick up much during the Steam Sale, but I did pick up Turbo Dismount which looks like it’s going to be a great game to play with my sons. Finishing my Wild Walkers campaign in Endless Legend and finally trying Dungeon of the Endless a try will round out my weekend of gaming. And Dota 2. There’s always time for Dota 2.

What are you playing this weekend?

In My Digital Weekend Gaming Hands

Yeah, it’s the Holiday Steam Sale, but before I grab anything off my wish list there, I picked up a couple digital downloads for my gaming pleasure. First up is the latest expansion for my hands-down favorite iOS game, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer.

realms_unraveled

The new expansion, Realms Unraveled, introduces multi-faction heroes and a “Unite” mechanic that allows cards to play off each other. It’s a great mechanic for throwing down some great combos, but those combos can get out of hand quickly:

Outside of that drubbing, I’ve been enjoying the new expansion. I haven’t tried it out with any of the other expansion decks. (Also, be warned: Ascension is now available on Steam. I can’t be held responsible for your addiction.)

I was also given a review code for Thomas Was Alone for the Wii U. I have heard great things about TWA but I haven’t had a chance to dive in yet. I hope to do that this weekend.

And of course there will be the usual Dota 2. There’s always Dota 2.

What will you be playing this weekend?

Unsolicited Mental Objects, Week of 11/30

Tony
I haven’t delved into a strategy game or a civ/sim game in quite some time. But I couldn’t resist the allure of giving Endless Legend a try, and I’m glad I did. I hope to write some more in-depth initial impressions soon, but suffice it to say that it has its hooks in me. It has a Civilization-esque “just one more turn” coupled with skill and tech trees to give variety and complexity to each game. I went into the game (after the tutorial) completely green and let the defaults reign as I tried my first world. I went with the elf-like Wild Walkers as my race. I’m 30 turns in and even as I type this I wonder what the next 30 turns hold. I’ve pacified a minor faction of Minotaurs, expanded my first city and am well on my way to founding my second.

I worry that “just one more turn” is going to turn into “just one more hour”.

Nick
Blizzard yesterday revealed an additional 61 Hearthstone cards that will be included in the new Goblins vs. Gnomes expansion to be released sometime this month. Prior to this unveiling I was under the impression that the expansion is just going to be an unfavorable hodge podge of RNG and incessant Priestcraft trickery – which, during the first weeks of release, Hearthstone shall still be. But now, after seeing these new cards, I am starting to feel that spark of yielding to the hype, the willingness to jump into the cyclone giddy and clueless.

Where some of the initial expansion card reveals had me scoffing and chuckling with irony, Blizzard is, as I am now perceiving it, methodically expanding the playing field. It’s good to see Silver Hand Recruits get some love, as well as counters to secrets, the misfire mechanic of the ogre cards, Hunter’s Feign Death (Battlecry: Trigger all deathrattles on your minons… so evil). Tokens. Murlocs. Mechs. So many disgusting combinations…

To date, I have spent an approximate $0.00 on Hearthstone. This figure is not shared here as a badge of honor, to be a snoot about it. Nor has it ever been an act of principle or guiding light during gametime. I simply have never felt compelled enough to pay USD for boosters because earning gold in-game is a joy and a journey. At times I admit to wondering just how long I can and will go before coughing up the funds. But with this impending onslaught of cards both fresh and wily… Dagnabbit, Blizzard. You may have caught me on this one.

*enter evil laugh here*

James

I got maybe one or two matches of Dota 2 in with Tony during the holiday break, I think we lost both matches. It’s getting harder and harder to win when your “teammates” are either going AFK or just downright horrible. =/

Played a few matches of Smite in last night with Jason and we won a few and lost a few. I think I’ve been away from Smite for a while/I wasn’t playing very well. Thankfully you can surrender after the 10 minute mark if your team is being destroyed. This way you can end a match and hop into another one and roll the dice for a chance at a good team.