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.

December Releases

With the bulk of gaming releases already out in November, December doesn’t usually bring along a huge slate of games. This December is no different, with a couple games that might hold your interest but otherwise aren’t all that great. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of December 2nd
Terraria – I’m surprised to see this out on next-gen consoles, but Terraria is a great game so why not?
The Crew


Week of December 2nd
The Crew


Week of December 2nd
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – If ever there was a game that screamed “THIS IS NINTENDO”, Captain Toad is that game. Look at those bright colors. LOOK AT THEM. My goodness, the colors. So bright.
NES Remix Pack – Nintendo going hard, tugging at the nostalgic heart strings. /Purchases NES Remix Pack


Week of December 2nd
Ultimate NES Remix


Week of December 2nd
Skullgirls
Titanfall Deluxe
Battlefield 4: FINAL STAND
The Crew

Week of December 9th
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Week of December 16th
Divinity: Original Sin


PS4 Banner

Week of December 2nd
Terraria
The Crew

Week of December 9th
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Week of December 16th
Guilty Gear Xrd – SIGN – “Xrd”?! It’s like they’re not even trying anymore with these names. Xrd, indeed.


Week of December 2nd
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX


No releases this month for the Sony Playstation Vita.

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 Weekend Gaming Hands

endless_legend

With the Steam Sale in full force, I had to pull the trigger and grab Endless Legend (by the time it downloads, I’ll probably have picked up Endless Space and Dungeon of the Endless as well). So along with some Black Friday deal posting (like this one for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls console version) I imagine I’ll be playing some Endless Legend this weekend. And of course a weekend of gaming wouldn’t be complete without a game or two of Dota 2. So my gaming deck is loaded.

What are you going play this holiday weekend?

Unsolicited Mental Objects, Week of 11/23

James
I got a few matches of Smite in last night with Jason before getting in a game of Dota 2 with Tony.

The first match in Smite was an arena game type and we had a disconnect on our team within about 5 minutes from the start and things weren’t looking all that good for us. The lead that the enemy team had built up was dwindling and we were catching up. it was down to the point where one kill either way would determine the victor and….we won! It was definitely a fun match because of how close it was and the effort it took to pull out a win (don’t mind how badly I did).

The game Tony and I played was a train wreck. You can tell from the graph we weren’t making very much headway. Whenever a team fight broke out our teammates would slowly meander over and line up to die one at a time. The worst part was that I denied the Phantom Assassins contract and we could have had a chance to get some sweet drops if we won… =(

I’m sure I’ll get some gaming on Friday while the lady folk are out spending $.

Jason
I’ll admit that I’m humble bundle obsessed. I’ll attribute about 90% of my steam library to little bundle purchases that I’ve grabbed over the past several years. They do a service for the gaming community and the charities that they support.  I’m hard pressed not to pick up every bundle that has a worthwhile game or two within it.

This week brought the Humble Sega Bundle and along with it a NEED for SPEED. For a couple bucks I managed to get myself into a delightful little Mario Kart clone called Sega All Star Racing Transformed. Quite honestly, it’s the best kart-style racing game I’ve played on the PC in a long while.

SASRT has one of the most dynamic and gorgeous set of kart racing maps I’ve had the privilege of playing. Maps are unique and draw inspiration from many Sega titles like Jet Set Radio Future, Space Channel 5, and the Sonic The Hedgehog.

What makes this game so fresh is the way the maps seamlessly transform the game play from a road racer to a hydro thunder style boat racer and then into a high flying air racer. You’ll be battling in your kart and the ground will crumble beneath you transforming your kart into a boat as you splash into the water. After crashing through waves and diving through boost rings you’ll eventually be propelled into the air to blast your opponents out of the sky.

All in all I’m really pleased with this humble pickup. Most of my Humble bundle games just pad my collection and collect digital dust but I can see picking this one up on a regular basis. Replayability is a huge deal for me and this one will be easy to pick up for a few minutes at a time for some fast, frantic, and fabulous fun.

Nick
The Steam Autumn sale is rumored to begin today at 1PM EST. Quick! Everybody go bananas! This news grabs hold of an internal conflict which has been brewing deep inside for several weeks now and thrusts it to the surface. The conflict: Do I purchase Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor or Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. I could realistically afford to purchase both, but that would be too easy and chafe against my tendency to make mountains out of molehills. And so, the bout continues.

On one side is Shadow of Mordor. I have never played a game in the Middle Earth realm, so I am curious. The combat is universally being compared to Arkham Asylum, and this pleases me – I had a blast in AA. I’m not all that crazy about stealthy/rogue characters but for some reason rolling this kind of character seems appealing, probably because stabbing unsuspecting orcs in the neck looks sweet (this an aspect I loved about Dishonored. Pacifist? Psh. More like Knifeinfist). The only downside that I am ignorantly perceiving is just how big and playable this Middle Earth is. I lose interest pretty fast in an open world like this. I’ve never been one to dally around fulfilling countless side quests, so if, in SOM, I can blaze through the Main Quest line then I may actually sort of care about the game’s story – which is rare in video games – and complete the game!

On the other side is Black Flag. Boats! Pirates! Booty! Thanks to the thoroughness of gaming websites I have learned that BF is basically the Assassin’s Creed series saying, “Let’s set aside the lore for now. Let’s go be pirates!” AC3 is the only other game in the series I have played. It was alright. I didn’t complete the game but did I appreciate and applaud the historical backdrop. Any game that brings history to life receives an automatic nod from me. And I loved, loved, loved the naval battles, which, if I understand correctly, is amplified and embellished and a primary activity in Black Flag. I am a salty dog at heart (when I am not a cowboy or exiled monk) and this speaks to me. But I fear that the naval aspect will grow tiresome and I will be stuck back doing the same types of things that made my experience with AC3 fizzle out.

This is the battle. Only one will emerge the victor and the other shall sulk away – That is, until the winter sale when it will win unchallenged. Of course.

Buttonmashing Deals

I recently took over a Google Plus page for video game deals from fellow Buttonmasher James, rebranded it “Buttonmashing Deals” and have been trying to feed a steady stream of video game deals that may or may not be of interest to you. If you’re still using Google Plus (yes, people do still use it, and yes, it’s better than Facebook), you can follow the page here: Buttonmashing Deals and have the most recent deals show up in your G+ feed.

Since Google Plus allows for embedding, I also plan to embed the occasional deal here at the main Buttonmashing site. I’ll try to keep it at a minimum, but when there’s good stuff to be had, I want to get it to the widest audience I can. Especially with Black Friday/Cyber Monday coming up, there should be a plethora of opportunities to save money on games.

Like on this bundle for Shadow of Mordor and the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Blu-rays:

Unsolicited Mental Objects, Week of 11/16

Tony – Lately I’ve been able to drag myself out of the Dota Vortex (but with the new update, I’ll be heading back in) and I’ve had a chance to mess around with HEX: Shards of Fate. This is my first foray into a collectible trading card game, having never played Magic the Gathering or its ilk. I’ve previously professed my love for Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (and its expansions) but that is a deckbuilding card game, where each deck you use is dictating by what cards are available in the center row, not how many booster packs you have. It’s simple and the mechanics are straight forward. But! But it’s also complex and the combination of cards and synergy between them gives it depth and any number of play styles. I have my own and I’ve played others that go their way. It’s enjoyable, quick and rewarding.

Hex, on the other hand, is overwhelming me. There are A LOT of cards to learn and I’m still trying to grok the basics. There are five resource types and two factions (with four races each) with their own strengths and weaknesses. Not to mention the six classes of heroes you can choose from. Each of the races can feed/compliment off each other and each is different in its on way. I am trying to learn them all, trying to wade through the tutorials and beginner decks, but I’ve also got a decent sized pool of cards to build my own deck from (thanks to the Kickstarter rewards) and I seriously have no direction which way to take this game. Are there too many mechanics? Too many cards?

And let’s not even get into how a TCG such as this needs expansion decks and cards to stay relevant and interesting. I can’t even wrap my mind around the cards I already have!

And yet I am excited to learn more. I’ll learn as I go and work on a deck that I enjoy playing (I think I can safely say that Dwarves are not my favorite race). HEX is starting to dig its claws into me but good.

Nick – I was thrown to the wolves this past week. I secured a temporary teaching job in, what I’ve come to learn is an actual classification, an Urban School. It continues to be a tough assignment, still fighting against the current. Taking it day by day. It has been pretty much all-consuming, especially at home where I have to cobble together lesson plans and stress about meeting academic requirements and just getting these students to shut up and actually do some work. Unfortunately, because of this, I have had little desire or motivation to get my game on. I look at my steam library with shameful apathy. I do not have the capacity at the end of the day to play any of them; except for one for title…

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger has been my outlet during all this. It fulfills that very niche requirement I have for the times when all I want to do is be a cowboy and dual-wield my way through streets and saloons and canyons clogged with bandits. My accuracy rate on the arcade missions is abysmally low, but I don’t care. I’ve got two fast-loading revolvers and ammo aplenty; I’m gonna shoot the guns just because they sound great. I’m gonna aim for the sky, twirl in place and fire round after round because, dagnabbit, I am a cowboy, and cowboys do what they want. I also love the sound of lumber, both in this game and IRL. I dunno, there’s something wholly distinct about the sound of cowboy boots on a saloon floor, both in this game and mine IRL.

James – Played some Dota 2 and stayed up too late with Tony trying to win a game against a super fed Huskar. It was a close one though…

I have also been attempting to download HEX to play, but it suuuuuuch a big download that I haven’t just let it finish before turning my laptop or desktop off.

Someday. =)

Weekend Gaming

Desgaste del gamer, Xbox 360There was snow in the air yesterday. SNOW! This is happening too fast. But that means that now, more than ever, is the perfect time to be gaming. In fact, I think I’ll take the whole day off from “Real Life” to get a little gaming in. I’ll probably do some things on my wife’s honey-do list, too. I’ll figure out a way to gamify that, too.

And no, it just won’t be Dota 2. I mean there will be Dota 2 (there’s always Dota 2), but there will be other games, as well. I think for sure I’m going to delve back into Hex: Shards of Fate. I Kickstartered the dang thing, I should probably get to know the game a little more. And I’m feeling like some Nintendo gaming is in my weekend future. Whether that means a little 3DS action (maybe finally getting back to Link to the Past) or some Wii-U with the kids, I expect to do something whimsical.

What are you playing this weekend?

Unsolicited Mental Objects, Week of 11/9

Nick:
BLIZZCON! BLIZZCON! BLIZZCON! (Shouted to the tune of a monster truck rally)

Blizzard’s dog-and-pony took place this past weekend. There was much news and enticing reveals. Really, the only area of interest for me was any and all information about the upcoming Hearthstone expansion Goblins Vs. Gnomes, and more specifically a preview into some of the new cards. I am enough of a filthy casual to not absolutely need these cards; I still have many holes in my collection as it stands (Defender of Argus plz). But I was curious enough and aware of the meta enough to anticipate what Blizzard is cooking up. And what exactly are they cooking up? More RNG, that’s what.

Some of these cards are absolutely nuts on the randomness! PC Gamer posted 37 of these new cards, and I’m wondering (hoping, perhaps) if these cards are some of the more extreme cases. For example: Enhance-o Mechano, a 4 mana 3/2 minion whose Battlecry is (you ready for this?) Give your other minions Windfury, Taunt, or Divine Shield (at random). I don’t know if I laugh because of genuine giddiness or irony. This is one of the more extreme samples but other cards share in a lesser degree of this menagerie of functions.

I’m still not sure how to all the way feel about this. In a great interview with Blizzard senior producer Yong Woo, he says that this increased randomness is designed to heighten a player’s emotional amplitude and to mix up the meta. This is all well and good, but perhaps ultimately not for me. All this extra randomness, all this zaniness… I will be all about it at first. The new cards will help revive some of my lesser-used ones, find a new synthesis for them. Indeed. People are going to be constructing all kinds of creative and whacko decks. I just fear that overtime the Goblins Vs. Gnomes will (to steal from Mitch Hedberg) be like pancakes: You’re all excited at first but by the end you’re f#*@in sick of ‘em. All this RNG just sounds too dang slippery for me. I’m still up in the air about it. But we’ve also only seen, what, only 20-ish% of the new cards. I’ll bet there will be some sexy new silence cards somewhere there.

Tony:
I am old. I remember stand-up arcade games like Zaxxon, Elevator Action and Joust. My kids do not. They have been raised on Minecraft, 3DSes and Wii-U’s. Is a history lesson necessary? I would like them to understand where games have come from and appreciate what they have now. So, thanks to the Internet Archive, I can let them play (read: suffer) through some old-school classics. I give you The Internet Arcade:

The Internet Arcade is a web-based library of arcade (coin-operated) video games from the 1970s through to the 1990s, emulated in JSMAME, part of the JSMESS software package. Containing hundreds of games ranging through many different genres and styles, the Arcade provides research, comparison, and entertainment in the realm of the Video Game Arcade.

The game collection ranges from early “bronze-age” videogames, with black and white screens and simple sounds, through to large-scale games containing digitized voices, images and music. Most games are playable in some form, although some are useful more for verification of behavior or programming due to the intensity and requirements of their systems.

The Internet Arcade can even detect and use a gamepad. Some of the games I played around with are a bit sluggish and clunky to control, but it was a fun little trip down nostalgia lane. I don’t think the kids were impressed.

James:
I’ve only played a few matches of Dota 2 so far this week. Both of the matches I played were a landslide victory with the first matches having the other team rage quit. A rage-quit win can be satisfying, but the best is when you can dominate a team without any extra handicaps. This is where the second match comes in: EPIC WIN!

I really enjoy playing Centaur Warrunner because he has some really great burst damage with an area of effect stun and his ultimate can effect everyone on your team wherever they are. His ultimate allows all allies to run at a fast speed and they also gain the ability to run through enemies and in the process damage/slow them down. It is definitely a great ability when you notice someone trying to run away from an engagement that went bad or if you need to give a teammate a boost in speed to catch a retreating enemy.

I’m looking forward to playing some more Dota 2, possibly some Smite, StarCraft 2, or even Diablo 3 on Thursday night.

GAME ON!

Jason:
An unexpected arrival on my front porch turned my digital gaming experience this week into an analog one. Until recently Marvel Dice Masters, a dice based magic the gathering style game, had been unavailable to the masses due to a production shortage. They’ve recently released a second set to meet the demand and I couldn’t help picking it up.

It arrived on Monday and I couldn’t wait to rip it open of the box and play a few games against my wife. The gist: you work to acquire dice from a pool in the center of the table to build your arsenal of superheroes that attack, defend, and acquire more dice. It’s a great mix of luck and strategy and at less than 15 bucks it’s worth every penny. Amazon still has a few copies available.

The only downside is that it has roots in the CCG blind acquisition model. You buy booster packs that contain a random assortment of new dice and the heroes and villains that go with them. However, each booster comes in at a cool $.99. I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a game component sell for less than a dollar. It’s likely that I’ll pick up a good handful of them before all is said and done.

WizKids definitely knows what they’re doing.