May Releases

We’re getting close to the summer, which means there’s not much to see this month. It’s great if you’re a fan of The Witcher Series, but other than that, there’s not much. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

May 5th
Wolfenstein The Old Blood

May 12th
Project CARS

May 19th
The Witcher: Wild Hunt
Farming Simulator 15


May 19th
Farming Simulator 15 – With just one release for the Xbox 360, I think we can safely say that its days are numbered on the Monthly Releases. It had a great ten year run and will eventually be phased out here. It looks like ports and downgrades fromm here on out.


May 26th
Splatoon – The Wii-U, on the other hand, is not in its twilight. It appears to still be struggling to garner any type of third party support.


May 5th
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker

May 19th
Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros.

May 26th
Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX


May 5th
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Project CARS

May 12th
Final Fantasy IV : The After Years
Airport Firefighters: The Simulation – Not just a Firefighter simulator, but an Airport Firefighter. Sounds like fun for HOURS.
Trainz: A New Era

May 19th
The Witcher: Wild Hunt

May 26th


PS4 Banner

May 5th
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year

May 12th
FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD Remaster Limited Edition
Project CARS

May 19th
The Witcher: Wild Hunt
Farming Simulator 15

May 26th
ArcaniA – The Complete Tale


May 19th
Farming Simulator 15


May 19th
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed

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

Pillars Of Eternity Wallpaper High QualityBy the looks of the forecast, this weekend is going to be downright springlike, which means my gaming time may be limited, but after a winter of harsh cold and snow, I think it will be a welcome sight to get out of the house.

That won’t, of course, stop us from gaming this weekend. After a few less-than-stellar Dota 2 performances this week, I’m not sure how high my desire to get back into the game will be. So I think this weekend will be spent with some single player games, most likely Pillars of Eternity. I don’t think I’ve quite hit the five hour mark, but I’m getting close. So far I’ve enjoyed Pillars but with so many complex, contiguous systems, I do feel a bit overwhelmed. There are tactics to be deployed but I find myself more often than not just heading in to battle and focusing down each bad guy. It’s not a great system and I know it’s not sustainable. This weekend I hope to delve a little more into the tactics and actually make sense of what I’m trying to do.

Since my boys are knee-deep in Terraria, I may jump back into my Terraria world and mess around a bit, show them what I have and what I’ve been working on. I sent my gaming laptop back to Asus to get fixed and I’m anxious to get it back so we can play multiplayer Terraria. The boys love playing together on the Xbox 360 but I think playing together on the PC would be even better.

And of course if the invite comes to play some Dota 2, I’ll be playing some Dota 2. What are you playing this weekend?

Road Trip! Funspot Arcade

Since I was exiled to the chilly East Coast for work for the past couple of months, I decided I’d make use of my free time during the long, boring weekends to check out an item on my Buttonmashing Bucket List — the Funspot Family Entertainment Center, home of the “American Classic Arcade Museum” in New Hampshire. If you’ve seen The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (the documentary of Steve Weibe’s attempt to break the Donkey Kong world record), you’ve seen Funspot, as it’s the arcade where he makes his record breaking attempt.

Funspot Arcade

When I first arrived, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was big and I knew I would find more than arcade games (the place has to make money, so I knew there would be skee ball and the ticket machines) but what I found was pretty much like any other arcade I’ve been to. It was dark, loud, had the presence of a slightly off-putting smell and arcade games. Tons of aracde games.Ivan "Ironman" Stewart's Off Road

I thought it would feel like stepping into the way-back machine, a trip to memory lane but the arcades I went to (and worked at) were never this big and never had this many classic games. I decided that I had to play some of the games I remember from my childhood/teen-age years and also some of the classics.

Hands-down, my favorite upright arcade game of all-time is Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road. I pop in a token and hearing the familiar rev of the video game engine, the honk of the upgrades and seeing the cheesy bikini glad girls takes me back to 1990. Unfortunately, nostalgia does funny things, like make you forget how punishing and unforgiving the controls are or how often the stupid nitro button sticks or doesn’t respond at all and above everything else — how terribly floaty the physics are in this game. Frustration could have set in quickly, and if this game was released in 2015 it would be eviscerated.

OffroadBut that funny nostalgia still prevails and I have a blast. I remember every track, every configuration, every shortcut and I still try to ruin the silver truck’s (that’d be the CPU-controlled Stewarts truck) race when I find myself in last place with no hope of surviving. Nitro-ing into his front-end will never get old.

I played Offroad first and probably dumped more tokens in it than any other game. After maxing out all the upgrades on my truck, I decided to move on and explore other areas of the arcade.

The majority of the games in the “Arcade Museum” are pre-1988, which meant a few of my favorites weren’t found in the main drag. I went with express purpose of playing some of my favorites along with some classics. I headed downstairs from the Arcade Museum area, in search of a few modern games and found exactly what I was looking for, all lined up in a row:

NBA Jam

This basically encapsulates my formative arcade game playing years — NBA Jam, Mortal Kombat I and II (and III, but I didn’t spend nearly as much time playing III as I did I and II). I written about it before, but Mortal Kombat II was both my jam and my introduction to the nascent internet. I was attending classes at Cleveland State University at the time and had access to Usenet groups, including the alt.games.mk2 group which had daily updates to the fatalities and rumors of babalities, nudalities and something called a “friendship”. I would show up every afternoon with freshly printed out move lists that we would all pore over. When I read about the secret way to get to fight Smoke on the Portal level, I waited patiently as others played over and over again, waiting for the “Toasty” to pop up. I reached over and hit the start button and everyone in the room had their minds BLOWN.

Jax and Scorpion were my dudes, so I spent some time reliving the glory days of MKII and then threw a few tokens in NBA Jam. Hearing “IS IT THE SHOES” as my guy cannon ball dunks from the free-throw line, spitting fire, was a great moment.

I headed back upstairs to play some of the classics. Unfortunately, the lighting there was not conducive to taking pictures so I didn’t get many up there. Because I really didn’t play these games as obssessively as I did newer games, I don’t have the same memories of loving Donkey Kong or Centipede or Robotron 2084. But because I was at Mecca, I had to play some of them. Spy Hunter was a favorite so I sat down to play a few minutes of that but Holy Lord that game is hard. I have these beautiful memories of jamming through levels of Spy Hunter like it was my job and 20 years later it felt like I was driving a red wagon, out of control, down a giant hill. It was not fun.

Ditto can be said about Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior and Zaxxon. These games did not age well. I tip my hat to guy’s like Weibe that have taken the time to master these games. It was painful.

Pong

So painful that when I saw this Pong machine, I couldn’t do it. This is history and I couldn’t bring myself to relive the pain. We lived with games that had this brutal difficulty and we liked it! What was wrong with us?

So toSmash TV end the trip on a high note, I emptied out the rest of my tokens into the Smash TV machine. It was mindless fun and was just as ridiculously hard as I remembered it. I would like to meet the guys who could get through the first level of Smash on one credit. I maintain it can’t be done, but I’m sure it has. One day I’ll have to do a deep dive into Smash TV YouTube runs to see if I’m right.

The trip down memory lane was great and the chance to visit an American Treasure. Not sure if you’ll ever find yourself near Lake Winnipesaukee, but if you do, you owe it to yourself to visit The Funspot.

Weekend Gaming

The weekend is upon us and it’s time to plan out a weekend’s worth of gaming.

I am concluding a long series of trips out of town and I’m taking a 3-day weekend in celebration so there will be plenty of gaming going on in the Buttonmashing household. My gaming cup runneth over. I have been jonesing for some Dota 2, so that will be the first course of gaming. After that, I can finally download Pillars of Eternity, which was one of the first games I ever backed on Kickstarter. I’ve avoided pretty much all the reviews to avoid spoilers, but looking at review scores, I think I’m in for quite a fun ride. I loved Baldur’s Gate back in the day and it looks like Obsidian has knocked it out of the park again. So I’ll be spending a good chunk of my gaming time with Pillars.

And I still have Dragon Age: Inquisition warming on the backburner and I recently re-started my playthrough of Mark of the Ninja. There should be plenty of gaming to go around this fine weekend.

What are you going to play?

Buttonmashing Deal of the Day

For those of you who are PC Gamers:

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)