Unsolicited Mental Objects – Fallout 4

(Unsolicited Mental Objects are a series of posts that we started as a sort of stream of consciousness to talk about whatever was on our mind, gaming-wise. I am currently making an effort to write everyday, so these should start popping up with regularity, along with other content.)

fallout_4After an extended break, Fallout 4 is back in heavy rotation. With the first two solid DLC packs having already dropped, I wanted to get through the main quest line before diving in to the DLC. That’s been my SOP for most games like this — finish the main game, then play the DLC the way the Lord intended (in the order it was released). I feel like there was a distinct order the developers had in mind and I want to stick with that.

Unfortunately for me, I put my playthrough on hold and the first two DLCs dropped before I finished the original storyline. No big deal, I’ll knock out the main quests and then work my way through the add-ons later.

So I’m working my way through a quest and it sends me to a randomly selected location to clear out some ghouls. I flip on my Pip-Boy and the quest marker is in the upper right corner of the map, a place I have never been.I dutifully head up there to find the “Eden Meadows” drive-thru. But I get up there and Eden Meadows is nowhere to be found.

It’s just a couple buildings, a dock and an older Asian couple looking for their run-away daughter.

Wait a second. This sounds like a quest that mysteriously appeared in my queue when I started playing regularly again. I talked to Detective Valentine about it and realized it was the Far Harbor DLC. I stashed that quest away to come back to later and now this randomly selected location was smack-dab in somewhere I had no intention of going until I finished the main story.

(I’ll reserve judgement on whether this was a good design choice or not for another post. Fallout 4 is massive and a marvel of development and programming. I’m not going to accuse Bethesda of not squashing a potential bug. I was helping out some Synths and Far Harbor fits that description anyway)

But this presented a dilemma, one that I have grappled with before. Do I sully my experience with the DLC, something I had been saving, to continue on with this quest? I have to further the story of Far Harbor just so I can make progress in infiltrating The Institute. I like to think my way of playing through content is the right way and now I’m forced to do something against the grain.

So I went to Far Harbor, ignored anything that might trigger another quest line, made my way to Eden Meadows, handled my business and got back to The Commonwealth. But in doing so, I still had to further the Far Harbor story a little and now it will wait, fallow, as I continue my quest to get answers from the Institute.

Sorry Mr. and Mrs. Nakano, your daughter’s disappearance will have to wait. I have some revenge to exact for my dead wife and lost son.

In my Hands (Gaming on a Surface Pro 4)

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So I didn’t pick this up for the express purpose of gaming (I built a new PC for that last year (I should probably write a post about that)) but I do expect to do some gaming-on-the-go when the opportunity arises. I don’t expect to pump out the eff pee esses at an alarming rate, but I do plan on putting this Surface Pro 4 through its paces.

So far, I’ve installed Steam on it and I’ve installed Dota 2 (Because of course that’s what I’d do).

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I spectated some of the Manila Major and it did just fine. I was running it at its native resolution (2736×1824) and it looked great. (Seriously though, the screen on the Surface Pro 4 is FANTASTIC. I can’t stop raving about it). I haven’t tried playing Dota 2 on the Surface Pro 4 yet, so I can’t comment on in-game performance yet, but I anticipate having to back down the resolution and tone down the settings. That remains to be seen.

The other test I was able to try so far was using Steam In Home Streaming. This harnesses the power of my gaming PC (Seriously, I need to write about that) and play anything in my Steam library on the Surface Pro 4.

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For this test, I hooked up an Xbox 360 controller to the Surface Pro 4 and streamed some Fallout 4. Aside from a slight (but noticeable) input lag, the game ran fine and looked pretty good on the little screen. I’m not sure what resolution the game was playing at but it looked fine. This will probably prompt me to buy a new wireless Xbox One controller, as this can be synced directly with the Surface Pro 4 (and I could eventually stream Xbox One games to it (if I ever breakdown and pick up and Xbox One)).

So my initial impressions are that it’s not going to replace my PC anytime soon but for gaming, the Surface Pro 4 seems like it’s going to be a competent little machine.

(And yes, this post was written using a Surface Pro 4)

June Releases

June brings with it warmer weather, school breaks and some decent video games. On to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of June 7th
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Week of June 14th
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition

Week of June 21st
The Technomancer
MXGP2
Mighty No. 9

Week of June 28th
7 Days to Die
Prison Architect


Nintendo Wii-U

Week of June 14th
Minecraft: Wii U Edition

Week of June 21st
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Mighty No. 9

Week of June 28th
TerrariaTony The young buttonmashers in our household will be excited by the idea of Terraria on the Wii-U. It fits great with the gamepad but Terraria is five years old at this point. It might have been better to wait and release the new Terraria game when it’s ready.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Nintendo 3DS

Week of June 7th
Kirby: Planet Robobot

Week of June 28th
Zero Time Dilemma
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens


PC

Week of June 7th
XCavalypseTony Zombies and excavating equipment! Repeat: Zombies and excavating equipment!
Stranger of Sword City
UFO Online: Invasion
Ghost 1.0
SteamWorld HeistNick A PC release for this title is much-welcomed. I enjoyed Steamworld Dig more than I probably should have. Steamworld Heist looks to be a fun new concept within the same universe.
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter

Week of June 14th
Dead by Daylight

Week of June 21st
Mighty No. 9

Week of June 28th
LEGO STAR WARS: The Force Awakens
The Technomancer


Sony Playstation 4

Week of June 7th
Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book
Paragon – Essentials Edition
Toki Tori 2 Plus

Week of June 21st
Grand Kingdom
Umbrella Corps

Week of June 28th
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Ocean: Integrity and FaithlessnessTony I’ll take Non-Sequiturs for 600, Alex.


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of June 7th
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

Week of June 21st
Grand Kingdom

Week of June 28th
Zero Time Dilemma
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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.)

May Releases

We’re changing up the format this month’s release list. I’ve cleaned it up a little bit, removed the images that I never really loved to begin with and now another Buttonmashing blogger, Nick, has joined in with his two cents on the releases that interest him. I hope to add another twist on the monthly release list, but that twist will have to wait until June. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of May 3rd
Battleborn

Week of May 10th
Battle Worlds: Kronos
Doom

Week of May 17th
Homefront: The Revolution

Week of May 24th
Overwatch – Origins Edition
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants in Manhattan
Tropico 5 – Penultimate Edition

Week of May 31st
Dead Island Definitive Collection
One Piece: Burning Blood
Prison Architect


Nintendo Wii-U

Week of May 31st
Mighty No. 9


Nintendo 3DS

No new releases for the Nintendo 3DS in May.


PC

Week of May 3rd
Shadow Complex RemasteredTony: Shadow Complex was a game I enjoyed on the 360 and never got around to finishing. The Metroidiness of Shadow Complex is real and I may pull the trigger on this game this month.
Battleborn
Dr. Spacezoo
Positron
StellarisNick: I wish I was more excited for Stellaris. Part of this apathy may perhaps stem from my overexcitment for Hearts of Iron IV, by which Stellaris is caught in the back side of this eclipse. Also, perhaps, that I’m just tired of spacey spacey pew-pew stuffs. I don’t know. meh. *shrug*

Week of May 10th
Rocket Fist
Neon Drive
Elite vs. Freedom
DOOM

Week of May 17th
Homefront: The Revolution
Tales from the Void
DuskersNick: Technically this isn’t a new release since it is actually just coming out of early access. But the game has a really cool concept and looks like it pulls it off rather well. The environment looks convincing and the command line interface has me giddy. This is a strong contender for an official ButtonMashing review.

Week of May 24th
Feudalism
Portal Stories: VR
Robot Arena III
Total War: WARHAMMER

Week of May 31st
Meridian: Squad 22


Sony Playstation 4

Week of May 3rd
Battleborn

Week of May 10th
Battle Worlds: Kronos
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s EndNick: Uncharted 2 was one of the most fun I’ve ever had playing a video game. The set pieces were a blast and there was minimal platforming. Uncharted 3 was pretty meh. It tried to do too much and diluted itself. Let’s see what the closing chapter of the franchise brings, if anything other than copious amounts of hype.
Doom

Week of May 17th
Homefront: The Revolution
Valkyria Chronicles RemasteredNick: The more that time passes, the more enticing the PS4 looks to me. Initially the main appeal was just Bloodborne. And now, just in May alone, we’ve got Uncharted 4 and Valkyria Chronicles. Bruh.

Week of May 31st
One Piece: Burning Blood
Dead Island Definitive Collection


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of May 10th
MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies

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.)

The Friends of Nintendo Humble Bundle

The Friends of Nintendo Humble Bundle is currently available, offering a number of Nintendo Wii U and 3DS games.

I could be mistaken, but as far as I can remember, this is the first time Nintendo games have been available as part of a Humble Bundle. And it’s a great deal — 13 bucks gets you everything, including Street Fighter IV for the 3DS and Darksiders 2 for the Wii U.

April Releases

April marks the release of the HTC Vive, the Valve VR experience. There are a couple other big titles, including Quantum Break and Dark Souls III, so this month is shaping up to be a decent month of games. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of April 5th
Star Wars Battlefront Outer Rim
Fallout 4: Automatron
Quantum Break
RBI Baseball 2016 – I haven’t followed baseball closely for a few years now, so I don’t know which Boston Redsox player is featured as this year’s cover athlete, but it sure looks like he’s REAL excited about diving for the ball!
DiRT Rally

Week of April 12th
Dark Souls III

Week of April 26th
Tales from the Borderlands
Lichdom: Battlemage


Week of April 19th
StarFox Zero


Week of April 12th
Bravely Second: End Layer

Week of April 19th
Langrisser Re: Incarnation – Tensei

Week of April 26th
Pokemon Rumble World
SEGA 3D Classics Collection – I know this whole “SEGA games on Nintendo systems” thing has been going on for quite a while now, but 14 year-old me would be very disappointed to see Sonic on a Nintendo. (That being said, I’d be perfectly happy with Altered Beast)


(**Editor’s Note: There are a TON of games coming out at the beginning of April on Steam, mostly VR games. I didn’t think that every game deserved a link, but if you have new VR Kit and you’re wanting to get some games, there possibilities are numerous)

Week of April 5th
Gunjack
Enter the Gungeon – (Guns are apparently a thing this month)
Outrage
Until I Have You
Fortify
Glitchrunners
Silver Bullet: Prometheus
The Fifth Expedition

Week of April 12th
DARK SOULS III
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan
Secrets of Deep Earth Shrine

Week of April 19th
The Banner Saga 2
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Wayward
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

Week of April 26th
Pavilion – If looks were all that counted, this would be a 2016 GotY contender.
Cubium Dreams
Elite vs. Freedom


PS4 Banner

Week of April 5th
Ether One
DiRT Rally
RBI Baseball 2016

Week of April 12th
Ratchet & Clank
Dark Souls III

Week of April 19th
Zombie Vikings
Lichdom: Battlemage

Week of April 26th
Tales from the Borderlands


Week of April 5th
Assassin’s Creed Chronicles

Week of April 26th
Stranger of Sword City

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: Spring Break Edition

1352293438_3c76a6fbeb_zThis coming week is Spring Break for the young buttonmashers, so we’ve been playing a family trip to the Big Apple. I’ll be driving the majority of the way there, so while we’re on the road they’ll be jamming with their 3DSes and Fire HD’s while I slave away in the driver’s seat. I don’t anticipate a whole lot of gaming for me for the next week or so.

Of course, being the Buttonmasher that I am, I am planning on a trip to the Nintendo Store in New York. Besides filling up our 3DSes with Street Passes, I’m looking forward to the kids’ reactions to two floors of Nintendo gaming Nirvana. If there was such a place when I was 12, I’d have to be dragged out, kicking and screaming. The Statue of Liberty has the history and the Empire State Building has the views, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be Dad of the Year when we walk into the Nintendo Store.

But we aren’t leaving until Sunday, so in the meantime, it’s extremely possible that I pick up a copy of The Division before I head out of town. I think the communal love-affair with Diablo III has waned and we’re all looking for something new to play. Right now, The Division has risen to the top of everyone’s wishlist.

And you know, with the game set in Manhattan, I could actually say I need to get this game. It’d be a great way to ahem familiarize myself with the city.

Especially if the Apocalypse hits while we’re there!

What are you playing this weekend?

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

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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.