February Releases

February is a great month. For starters, it’s Mr. Buttonmashing’s birthday month. It’s cold and miserable outside for most of the northern hemisphere, so it’s perfect for gaming. And it’s short, so the cold isn’t that bad. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of February 9th
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Dying Light: The Following
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend
Alekhine’s Gun

Week of February 23rd
Far Cry Primal
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2
Megaman Legacy Collection


No new releases for the Nintendo Wii U in February.


Week of February 16th
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright – Tempting…
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
Project X Zone 2

Week of February 23rd
Megaman Legacy Collection


Week of February 2nd
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM 4
XCOM 2
Fortified
Sorcery! Parts 1 and 2
Cobalt
Tales of Symphonia

Week of February 9th
Defragmented
The Renegades of Orion 2.0 – I watched most of the video for this game on the Steam Store page and it is a singularly bizarre experience.
Doors
Wayward Terran Frontier: Zero Falls
Firewatch – As a long-time fan of the Idle Thumbs podcast, I feel like it’s my duty to give this game a try.
ARSLAN: THE WARRIORS OF LEGEND
Space Pirates and Zombies 2 – I played and enjoyed the first SPAZ.

Week of February 16th
Talisman: The Horus Heresy
Dead Effect 2 – A game with an upgrade called “Thor’s Biceps” can’t be all that bad.
Street Fighter V – There is something that feels distinctly wrong with playing a Street Fighter game on the computer.
Dub Dash

Week of February 23rd
The Descendant
Disgaea PC – There is a very good possibility I will be picking this one up.
The Town of Light


PS4 Banner

Week of February 2nd
Gravity Rush Remastered
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth
Megadimension Neptunia VII
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel

Week of February 9th
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend
Alekhine’s Gun
The Last Tinker City of Colors
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4
Dying Light: The Following

Week of February 16th
Street Fighter V

Week of February 23rd
Megaman Legacy Collection
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2
Far Cry Primal


No new releases for the Playstation Vita in February.

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.)

Read In 2015

(Oops this was supposed to be done before the end of the year. Better late than never, right?)

LordOfTheFliesBookCover2015 wasn’t a great year of reading for me. I had plenty of time to read (I spent six weeks in Boston, during the biggest snowfall in decades, and didn’t read as much as I should have). But I did get to check off a couple of the books I have on my ever-growing To Read list. Here’s what I read in 2015:

Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky (145)
Roadside Picnic had been sitting on my night stand for years. I bought a copy after I watched the Russian film Stalker, based loosely on RP. I wish all books could be like Roadside Picnic — it was complex, had interesting characters and moved along at a brisk pace. The movie set the stage for how an alien visitation site would have looked and felt but the book really drove the weird, almost post-apocalyptic isolation, home.

Very enjoyable, not heavy on the Sci-Fi but recommended if you like science fiction. Not recommended if you like your stories tied up in nice pretty bows at the end, though.

The Chronicles of Amber: Volume I (The Chronicles of Amber #1-2) by Roger Zelazny (338)
This was the second book I’ve ready by Zelazny. (Technically second and third, but who’s counting?) Lords of Light was difficult to follow but a great read. The Chronicles of Amber: Volume I (Nine Princes in Amber and The Guns of Avalon) made me nervous that it would be equally difficult to follow with the cast of characters (nine princes and four more sisters) and an opening to the book of the main character suffering from amnesia, but it picked up steam quickly and wasn’t that hard to follow at all.

The main character Corey (Corwin) wakes up in a hospital heavily drugged, with no memory of how he got there or who he is. Turns out he is one of nine Princes of Amber, a fantastical world in which our Earth is one of many “Shadow Worlds” of Amber, and these Princes have the ability to walk in shadows, to travel freely between our world and theirs. The first book details Corwin’s first attempt to get back to Amber and take the throne from his brother Eric, with the help of the siblings still loyal to him.

That first attempt doesn’t go too well, which leads to the second book, wherein Corwin attempts to bring gunpowder into the world of Amber (which previously was that to be impossible) and make a second attempt at the throne. The second attempt is a little more successful but still results in things going south for Corwin and Amber.

There are more stories to go in the world of Amber, and I hope to get to them soon.

The Martian by Andy Weir (369)
This book delivered one of the best reading experiences I’ve enjoyed in a while.

It might be called “hard science fiction” but “hard” like college physics or chemistry classes. It’s not obtuse or dense but still feels like what is happening could actually be how things would happen on Mars. The science is solid and thorough. Maybe a little too easy to follow, but is that a bad thing?

The book had a couple of those “moments” I love, where you’re left hanging on a cliff, anxious for the next chapter or section. Highly recommended. (The movie wasn’t too shabby, either)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding (208)
Another in the list of “Classics Tony Needs to Read” has been crossed off. This time, it’s Lord of the Flies and it’s considered a classic for a reason. I was in love with the writing of this book. At times it is elegantly descriptive and beautiful (the imagery of fists being pistons, pounding someone in the face, was a personal favorite) and plain and yet still evocative (“His head opened and stuff came out and turned red,” was particularly jarring).

I won’t pretend to understand all the symbolism and the commentary on society and its morals, but I recognize them and the story is a scathing representation of the breakdown of civilization when there is no rule of law and the way power corrupts and all that comes with that. I just enjoyed the story and I’ll let other people figure out “what it all means”.

That’s the short reading list of 2015. A total of four books and 1,060 pages. What did you read this week?

Books (and pages) read in 2013: Five books (1,546 pages)
Books (and pages) read in 2014: Six books (1,724 pages)

In My Digital Hands

Diablo_3_reaper_of_souls_box_art_0

As Nick said in the most recent Weekend Gaming post, the Buttonmashing crew is back into Diablo 3 in a BIG WAY. That includes the Reaper of Souls Expansion, which Nick and I finished up Sunday night.

The Loot Loop struggle is real.

LOOT LOOT LOOT.

Weekend Gaming

fallout_4_communismIt’s the first real weekend of gaming of 2016 (that New Years Day nonsense doesn’t count), so what better way to get the year started with some video games!

I recently (and very belatedly, I’m ashamed to admit) hopped on the Rocket League bandwagon. I heard people rave about this game for weeks on Twitter and podcasts but never took the time to check it out (Dota 2 still had me firmly in its grasp). It went on a nice deep discount during the Steam Winter Sale, so I picked up a four-pack for me and my fellow co-bloggers.

Rocket League is some good stuff, man. It hits on all this buttonmasher’s cylinders — matches that are quick and easy, excellent co-op, and that sweet, sweet nectar of “HOLY SCHNIKES, DID YOU SEE THAT?!”. Rocket League also hits the Portal 2 areas of my brain, where connecting on a centered ball and slamming it home with a perfectly timed jump is as satisfying as that “ah-ha!” moment in Portal 2. Except in Rocket League those moments come all the time. The satisfaction is real.

So yeah, I think I’ll be playing quite a bit of Rocket League this weekend.

I’m also making significant progress in Fallout 4. As much as I’m loving Fallout 4, I’m also starting to see some serious repetition in a lot of the side “missions”. I’ve defended my settlements enough times to know that it’s a never ending battle, so I’m going to focus on the main mission for a while. I think I just hit a major milestone, so I’m going to follow this next batch of missions to see where it takes me.

So it’s Rocket League and Fallout 4 for me. What are you playing this weekend?

January Releases

gameboxesIt’s a new year and a new batch of video game releases for the month of January. There aren’t any major titles this month (with the exception of The Rise of the Tomb Raider on the PC) so I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to grab any of these titles. Besides, I just recently discovered the joy that is Rocket League, so my gaming plate is full. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of January 19th
Resident Evil Origins Collection – Capcom keeps banging that Resident Evil Remake drum, don’t they?
Life is Strange

Week of January 26th
Warner Bros Lego Marvel Avengers


Week of January 26th
Warner Bros Lego Marvel Avengers


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Week of January 19th
Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam – One of my junior buttonmashers will be very excited to hear about a new Mario & Luigi RPG for the 3DS.

Week of January 26th
Warner Bros Lego Marvel Avengers
Final Fantasy Explorers


Week of January 5th
Dead TrailZ
Dungeons Are Random
Contract

Week of January 12th
Big Action Mega Fight!
Oxenfree

Week of January 19th
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
The Deadly Tower of Monsters
Resident Evil 0 / biohazard 0 HD REMASTER
The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human
Crashlands

Week of January 26th
Bombshell
LEGO MARVEL’s Avengers
Rise of the Tomb Raider


PS4 Banner

Week of January 19th
Resident Evil Origins Collection
Life is Strange

Week of January 26th
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel


Week of January 19th
Steins;Gate

Week of January 26th
LEGO Marvel’s Avengers

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.)

December Releases

December is usually a dumping ground for releases publishers don’t really care about, having already released their marque titles the month before to get in before the holiday crush. This December isn’t much different than that but with a couple notable exceptions. I don’t remember a December in a while that has two quote-unquote Triple-A titles but this month has just that. Weird. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of December 1st
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Just Cause 3
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends


Week of December 1st
Xenoblade Chronicles X

Week of December 8th
Devil’s Third

Week of December 15th
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends


No notable releases for the Nintendo 3DS for December


Week of December 1st
Guardians of Orion

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
Just Cause 3
HELLDIVERS
DRAGON QUEST HEROES™ Slime Edition

Week of December 8th
RollerCoaster Tycoon World: Deluxe Edition
LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII – There is a trademark AND a copyright symbol in the name of this game. That has to be some kind of record.
Pale Echoes

Week of December 15th
Golf Masters


PS4 Banner

Week of December 8th
Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair


Week of December 8th
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space

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.)

November Releases

Every November, the glut of the year’s Triple AAA games is unleashed upon us, and 2015 is no different. Fallout 4, Star Wars: Battlefront and some shooty game called Call of Duty: Black Ops III (never heard of it). There’s got to be something here for everyone. It’s that time of year! With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of November 3rd
Need for Speed
Snoopy’s Grand Adventure
Evolve Ultimate Edition
Lords of the Fallen Complete Edition
Call of Duty: Black Ops III

Week of November 10th
Alekhine’s Gun
Fallout 4
Rise of the Tomb Raider – Poor little Lara Croft. No one is going to play you this year, Lara!

Week of November 17th
Star Wars: Battlefront
DeadPool
WRC 5
The Crew Wild Run Edition
Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends


Week of November 3rd
Shovel Knight

Week of November 10th
Devil’s Third
Rodea the Sky Soldier

Week of November 17th
Mario Tennis Ultra Smash – I read somewhere that the Wii U was dead. Then I read that they sold a lot of consoles recently. Clearly everyone was stocking up for some Mario Tennis!
Kung Fu Panda: Showdown of Legendary Legends


Week of November 3rd
YO-KAI WATCH
Shovel Knight

Week of November 10th
Rodea the Sky Soldier

Week of November 17th
Moco Moco Friends
Stella Glow
Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon


Week of November 3rd
Dragon Fin Soup
Battle Battalions – This is a great looking video game game.
PONCHO
Dawn of the Plow – I think I’m pretty safe in saying that this is the first time a game about a snow plow has made its appearance in the Monthly Releases list. This game has a little Super Sprint/Super Off Road feel to it.
Life is Hard
Prominence
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Mushihimesama – This game looks like it’s a first ballot inductee into the Games I’ll Never Get Past the First Level Hall of Fame.
Rogue Harvest

Week of November 10th
Fallout 4 – There were a bunch of indie games coming out on November 10th, but there is no Indie Games, only Zuul. Fallout 4 is my first MUST BUY title in a very long time. I’m going to forget how to play Dota because Fallout 4 will take over my gaming life.

Week of November 17th
Mayan Death Robots – With a name like that, it at least deserves a looksie. It has a definite Scorched Earth feel.
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Hard West
Fuego! – My Mexican heritage requires that I list this game. Also, it looks really fun.
Star Wars: Battlefront

Week of November 24th
Bombshell


PS4 Banner

Week of November 3rd
Call of Duty: Black Ops III
Need for Speed
Shovel Knight
Air Conflicts Pacific Carriers
Lords of the Fallen
Evolve Ultimate Edition

Week of November 10th
Fallout 4

Week of November 17th
Star Wars: Battlefront
Sword Art Online: Lost Song
DeadPool
The Crew Wild Run Edition
Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series

Week of November 24th
WRC 5


Week of November 3rd
Norn9: Var Commons

Week of November 10th
Superbeat: XONiC

Week of November 17th
Sword Art Online: Lost Song

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.)

I paid ten dollars for a Dota 2 cosmetic set…

… and I’m surprisingly okay with that.

I’m sure someone could pinpoint the moment when “Free to Play” got a foothold in gaming and became a thing but for the longest time, my attitude toward them was firmly on the “who cares” spectrum. Paying for cosmetics in a game I otherwise did not have to buy seemed pointless. Whereas, in other paid games, paid cosmetics was just a bonus feature that I’d just ignore. I was firmly a “I’d never pay for a cosmetic item” kind of guy. Cosmetics, ultimately, didn’t have any impact on me anyway because I didn’t play anything that was free to play anyway. Then I started playing Dota 2 in earnest a couple of years ago. (I think I gave the game a try after listening to a string of Idle Thumbs podcasts where the main topic of discussion was Dota 2. I had tried a MOBA before (League of Legends) but it didn’t grab me like Dota did.) I was now playing a free to play game wasn’t in your face with their microtransaction offerings. Just the occasional “get these cool cosmetic items! Look at this sword for your dude!” My feelings remained unchanged.

Cosmetic items have been, as far as I can tell, always been available for Dota 2 heroes even if they weren’t an option for all heroes.

This is a topic that will probably fork into another post, but somehow I ended up playing and building an affinity to the agility hero Juggernaut. I don’t know if it was because it was the most recognizable name in the list or I liked the idea of a masked, exiled samurai. Either way, Juggernaut has become “my guy”. He looks cool, has a sweet sword and his ultimate is one of the more satisfying ultimates in the game.

I don’t remember how it happened, but one day there was a cosmetic set for Juggernaut in my inventory. It was a simple set called Traveler on the High Plains. All the set items were classified as Common items, meaning they weren’t particularly rare or unique but the next time I played Jugg I equipped the items and a whole new game opened before my eyes:

I had an epiphany. This was my Juggernaut. There are many other Juggernauts like it, but this one is mine.

There are many cosmetic items for Juggernaut, possibly the most out of any of the heroes (maybe research this). Between his mask, his sword and his clothing, the possibilities and combinations of your Juggernaut are endless.

Juggernaut Mixed Items

I picked up odds and end pieces for Juggernaut but never could bring myself to pay more than a few quarters to pick something up. That was until the set “The Balance of the Blade Keeper” set became available last year. At the time, it cost $10.99 and as soon as I saw it, I hit the purchase button and haven’t looked back. Because the Blade Keeper set had such a unique look and style I picked it up without hesitation.

Juggernaut Balance of the Bladekeeper

The cosmetic items for Dota 2, to me, have been one of Valves most brilliant moves. Opening up the character models to freelance graphic artists basically increased their “workforce” to thousands of people with talent and know-how to customize the game and the personal experience of individual Dota 2 players. Valve lets these freelancers peddle their wares, all the while taking a little cut for being the middle man. This enables artists to develop a brand and a following, creating items for fans of the game.

Juggernaut Arms of the Gwimyeon Warrior

Juggernaut Bladesrunner

I have amassed, officially, over 1,000 hours of playtime over the past three years playing Dota 2. Steam tells me I’ve spent over 150$ on the game over that period of time. If there was some formula to determine “value” and if that formula were to be, say, dollars divided by hours, Dota would have delivered on 10 cents an hour, which I would say is a pretty dang good value, considering 1) it’s free and 2) most AAA games are luck to deliver 1.50$ an hour.

Juggernaut Gifts of the Vanished Isle

I don’t know how much longer I’ll play Dota 2 but they’ve turned me into a Free to Play believer and I’ve most certainly got my money’s worth.

October Releases

I’ve been doing these lists going on eight years, and I always dread October and November. It’s when the games avalanche begins. Games of all types start coming out close to the holidays and things get a little out of hand. This month it looks like the Dancing genre continues unabated and the Plastic Rhythm Music games are back with a vengeance. So much to see here! With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of October 6th
Rock Band 4
Transformers Devastation – This game may not be very good (most Transformers games haven’t) but holy cow if this game doesn’t look like it is straight out of 11 year-old me’s dreams!
Dragon Age Inquisition (Game of the Year) – You know you’re behind on your backlog when Game of the Year edition of a game you’re currently playing is slated for release.
Ride

Week of October 13th
Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
Back to the Future: The Game – 30th Anniversary

Week of October 20th
The Jackbox Party Pack
Adventure Time Finn and Jake Investigations
Hasbro Family Fun Pack
Just Dance Disney Party 2
Just Dance 2016
Guitar Hero Live
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

Week of October 27th
Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition
Minecraft: Story Mode
WWE 2K16
Halo 5: Guardians
WRC 5


Week of October 13th
New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U
Yoshi’s Woolly World

Week of October 20th
Adventure Time Finn and Jake Investigations
Just Dance Disney Party 2
Guitar Hero Live
Just Dance 2016


Week of October 6th
Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash

Week of October 13th
The Legend of Legacy

Week of October 20th
The Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes – I feel like this joke has been made, but what happened to Purple Link? Did his agent mess up his contract renewal? He sign a free agency deal with Microsoft or something?
Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden – Purple Link would fit in well with this color group.
Gravity Falls: Legend of the Gnome Gemulets
Adventure Time Finn and Jake Investigations

Week of October 27th


Week of October 6th
Read Only Memories
Caffeine – Replace “coffee” with “diet Coke” in the description and you have my attention.
Novus Inceptio
This Book Is A Dungeon
Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth – Rising Tide
Sublevel Zero
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut
SKYHILL
TRANSFORMERS: Devastation

Week of October 13th
Ancestory
Minecraft: Story Mode
Hyperdrive Massacre

Week of October 20th
Sword Coast Legends
Overlord: Fellowship of Evil
Wurm Unlimited
Tales of Zestiria

Week of October 27th
Albert and Otto – The Adventure Begins
Outpost 13 – Everything about this games sounds so amazing that I’m just going to quote the Steam Store description: “Outpost 13 is a point and click adventure strategy game where you, a monster, must escape an icy planet by strategically killing off crew members while maintaining your cover as “Fen” the crew’s pet dog. Play smart and you might just make it off-world alive.”
Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide


PS4 Banner

Week of October 6th
UNCHARTED: The Nathan Drake Collection
Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance
Transformers Devastation
Rock Band 4
Dragon Age Inquisition (Game of the Year)
Ride
Teslagrad

Week of October 13th
Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below – Certain JRPGs feel wrong on high-end consoles. Dragon Quest and Disgaea are two games I think belong on handhelds exclusively.
Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut
The Talos Principle: Deluxe Edition
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Hearts of Stone

Week of October 20th
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Tales of Zestiria
Guitar Hero Live
Just Dance 2016
Air Conflicts Pacific Carriers
Hasbro Family Fun Pack
Adventure Time Finn and Jake Investigations
The Jackbox Party Pack

Week of October 27th
WRC 5 – PlayStation 4
WWE 2K16
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition
Minecraft: Story Mode
Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition
MX vs. ATV: Supercross Encore Edition


Week of October 6th
Farming Simulator 16
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax

Week of October 13th
Corpse Party: Blood Drive – Everafter Edition

Week of October 20th
Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth
Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space

Week of October 27th
Superbeat: XONiC

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.)

In my Digital Hands

skyshine_bedlam

From the Steam Store page for Bedlam:

Skyshine’s BEDLAM is a strategic rogue-like turn-based RPG. You are the Mechanic, in charge of commanding your crew in battles, managing your resources, improving your Dozer, interacting with various characters, and protecting your passengers while navigating through the post-apocalyptic