What game are you playing?


That’s been sitting on my back burner due to the difficulty.

I honestly don’t think what I want exists, because the current market keeps rewarding hard 2D roguelites. I am just super done with sadism as a design mechanic.


Have you considered still playing Dead Cells but cheating? When the full release came out it wanted me to start a new save, but i didn’t want to do all the grinding to catch up to where i’d been, so i used Cheat Engine to boost my damage to “fuck you” levels and i discovered that it’s really really fun to just cruise through the game one-shotting all enemies instantly.


I mean … I don’t necessarily want to breeze through the game like that, and I don’t know how much work I want to put in to beat the game into a shape that’s tolerable to me. Having to cheese or use mods is like a constant reminder that this game is just not for me … so maybe I shouldn’t actually bother. I kind of already regret the hours I put in banging my head against a wall that never actually gave, and seeing it as one piece of a current trend that prizes difficulty over everything else feels alienating.

Here’s the thing: it isn’t just that the game is being made harder. It’s that players have reported back from beating harder difficulties that the design intent is to never get hit, ever. The devs have more or less confirmed this, even going to so far as to introduce new doors in the game which reward you for killing 30/60/fuckall monsters in a row without getting hit.

That’s the sort of game this is. How exactly am I meant to tune that to a reasonable level without it being complete cheese? At what point is it just better to cut my losses, and actually support a different dev who doesn’t do this?


Got my “before eoty” list worked out

Currently working through Hitman 2, Tetris Effect and Vampyr

Hitman 2 is amazing and I hate myself for not getting more into the “first” game. Playing through these maps for the first time is one of the most incredible experiences ever and is the closest I’ve ever felt like I’m participating in a Michael Mann directed heist. 47’s the best at what he does and always one step ahead, but always just one step. This might be my GOTY folks.

Tetris Effect. Hoo boy. I am trying hard to get more into this, but holy shit, I am awful. I’m already bad at most puzzle games, but throw in the music and the visuals and I am down for the fucking count. I can acknowledge that this is a very well made game, but I experience sensory overload on an almost daily basis and I think this game is kinda testing my tolerance.

Vampyr is still very good and definitely one of the more satisfying blackhat experiences I’ve ever had, slowly drawing out my prey through manipulation and investigation. Jonathan Reid likes his meals to be as succulent as possible.


I like that idea of a gaming list. Might use that myself.

I’m returning to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel because Borderlands is my comfort gaming. That and the WP 101.


I ended up playing through Virginia the other night, and came away quite impressed. The vignette-heavy storytelling was disorienting in a good way and made me completely enraptured in the game from beginning to end. It reminded me a bit of Jazzpunk in its structure if not tone, and I can’t wait to see what this team does next.

My wife and I also started up Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee and we are both smitten. The game works as pure nostalgia bait for me and also as an introduction to my Pokémon Go loving wife. It’s a super easy, chill time for us to just coo over the cutie Pokémon!

Other than that, I’m replaying Mark of the Ninja for WP101. I also just picked up God of War in the PSN Black Friday sale, so I should probably get started on that soon. I’ve had the WPR spoilercast for that game on my phone for months so I can’t wait to listen to it.


Virginia’s biggest influence structurally was Thirty Flights of Loving (as I recall Brendon Chung even gets a prominent mention in Virginia’s credits). Definitely check that out if you haven’t. Virginia has a lot more thematic weight to it though; I should replay it sometime and see if I can absorb more of what it’s doing.


I am playing Earthbound for the first time on the SNES Classic. I’m enjoying it for the most part but have had a number of ‘oh yeah, I had forgotten game design did this years ago’ moments. The level curve isn’t set to the story progression, at least for a first time player so I have had to spend a bit, but not excessive amount of time leveling up before moving on. I also ran into a few situations when first getting Paula where she couldn’t do any real damage even with a decent weapon and then all of a sudden she seemed to start doing decent damage after gaining a level. I haven’t confirmed it actually works that way though.

I have also started playing the mobile version of Stardew Valley. I find a day at a time is a perfect break, though part of me wants to boot it up on the PC and just sink hours at a time into it again.


I’m borrowing my brother’s New 3DS XL to play Xenoblade Chronicles and wow I’ve never had an opinion so far from the consensus before. I don’t like this game. This is probably the game I’ve come closest to outright hating. With that said, I think I’m close to the end and I really want to say I beat this 100 hour padded-ass game so that’s keeping me going.


Playing Bloodborne on-and-off. I think the fact that I only really get to play it on weekends (and as such haven’t played it in about two weeks) means I haven’t broken as much of my property as I may already have. But yeah, this game’s rock 'ard innit.

(yes I know, persistence makes it easier and you better, etc.)


Just reinstalled Fallout 4 to play on survival mode. Though I’m not sure how long I’ll be engaged with the game, survival mode makes the world so much more interesting, I don’t think I can ever play another BethSoft game without it (Skyrim Creation Club on PS4 has a survival mode that I’ll have to try sometime).

The game is just so shallow on vanilla difficulty, in that nothing you do in the world seems to matter. In survival mode you have to be prepared for every encounter - at least early on - and while it’s frustrating to lose 30 minutes of progress, there’s a meaningfulness in enemy encounters that I never knew I wanted til now.


That’s Sunset Overdrive done. I had a complete blast with it. It was just the dumbest thing and they knew it and leaned into it as hard as they could. The mission where you have to roll around in the ball thing near the end of one of the epilogue stories was godawful but at least it didn’t last long then I could get back to jumping and grinding around the city as normal. Very much hope they make another one.

Back to Hitman 2 now to finish that up. I’ve only got two stages left since i’m taking my time and doing several runs in a row on each before moving on.


I got a PSVR pretty much entirely for Tetris Effect and it’s great. I already loved that game, but the VR really does elevate it. I got the Astrobot bundle so I’ll have to try that at some point as well.

In the meantime I’m plugging away at Hitman 2. I love it, but it’s slow going because I just keep playing the first couple levels over and over instead of progressing. I think I’m just about ready to move on to Columbia now, but if the escalations were in already I would probably stay in Miami for a few more hours.

My backlog is really starting to pile up. The main ones I want to get done are Deltarune and The Missing. They both quite short but I keep pushing them off because I want to give them my undivided attention, which is increasingly hard for me since I mostly game while multitasking these days (Tetris Effect is the big exception, it’s entrancing on multiple levels so I don’t have this issue).

I think once I actually start Deltrarune I’ll breeze through it, but I already started The Missing and then fell off it pretty quick. I actually like what I played a lot, the problem is that I quite like J.J. based on the minimal characterization I’ve seen so far and I get the feel that nothing good is going to happen to her as the story progresses.


I have a daunting list of newer games I would like to finish before the end of the year so naturally I went ahead and bought COD 4 remastered in a Black Friday sale and have been playing that instead. It’s a very good, impressive remaster and I’m happy to see that it still mostly holds up (even if some of the level design has aged a bit poorly) since it is a personal favorite of mine.

All that said, I’m surprised at how unnerving a lot of it is to experience again. When that game came out I was like 11 or 12, and at the time I remember the imagery of sand-camouflaged American soldiers trudging through desolated middle-eastern urban landscapes was very much fresh and recognizable in my mind. I remember thinking (my pre-teen mind had not yet had a firm grasp on the disastrous effects of American imperialism so cut me some slack) it was pretty cool to play something that felt just like what was on the news. And now, 11 years later, a lot of the imagery is still extremely relevant and fresh in my mind? It’s a sudden reminder that for most of my life now I’ve been exposed to this sort of footage, and to seeing the media try and fail to put a spin on what is at this point undeniably a catastrophic series of conflicts the US has been mired in, costing at least hundreds of thousands if not millions of people their lives and homes. It still feels relevant, as terrible as that is.

And it’s interesting because, and I’ve said this before, I think this massive AAA game was admirably trying to get this point across constantly over a decade ago, and not just with the nuke scene everyone focuses on. The Americans act on bad intel and blow shit up for no reason on multiple occasions, and the juxtaposition between the marines enthusiastically “oorah-ing” it up early on in their first mission, losing a bunch of troops in heavy fighting, and ending the mission having accomplished absolutely nothing still feels like a pretty powerful statement. In fact, a lot of missions end in failure and with mixed results: the American invasion force storms the capital city (once again because of questionable intel) and a nuclear blast kills 30,000 personnel, Captain price angrily executes Al-Assad instead of taking him in for questioning, Zakhaev’s son isn’t successfully captured, the list of mistakes made by western powers goes on and on, and it often portrays them as…bumbling, ineffective and overly-aggressive. Not the portrayal I’m used to seeing I guess, even nowadays.


I got World of Final Fantasy Maxima for Switch and two things surprised me:

1:How Incredibly Pokemon It Is

2: How Incredibly Weird It Is

Between the very odd (but endearing!) story and dialogue, and the existance of a literal pokeball analogue, it goes way harder into stuff I was vaguely aware it had than I was expecting. It feels a lot less antiquated than Pokemon has for years though. Each Mirage/Not-Pokemon has it’s own skill tree, and deploying them in this weird stacking system is more interesting than fielding lone combatants.

The story was always gonna live or die by the twin protagonists, so luckily they have some lovely pun-fulled banter that’s been a blast so far. The villain cutaways have me very curious where the overarching story goes too. Some choice screenshots of my terrible party names and some choice dialogue:


I started Card City Nights for an LP series and I gotta say, it has been a pleasant but weird surprise. The first NPC you meet is a card playing pet platypus, there’s a company run by beet people, an evil puppet lit himself on fire after I beat him in cards, and there’s a place called the “Hunk Bump Bar.”

It’s a very, very weird game.

For those unfamiliar, it’s actually a giant crossover game of games released and made by Daniel Remar and the indie studio Ludosity (like 100% Orange Juice being a crossover of a bunch of obscure doujin games). I was surprised to discover I actually recognize a few, mainly from their more recent Slap City, but I’ve also played a few of these games that get cameos in the cards (like Iji and Muri). The world around you is just concentrated Ludosity nonsense, but every card is a reference to one of these games, to clarify.

The actual card fighting is really interesting. Unlike just about every collectable card game I’ve ever played, you make moves on your opponent by chaining together cards on a nine by nine mat, with cards all having different chain points shown with arrows on the edges. It ends up becoming mass chaos pretty fast. There’s a sequel out too, if you’re interested.


Hitman 2
Hitman 2016 is my most-played game on Steam at 154 hours, but I have the feeling this sequel is going to eclipse that.

I have been spreading my time between the new content and the levels from the last game, and revisiting each location to explore try all the different opportunities, such that even after 36 hours played, I have completed three Hitman 2 levels, and three from the old game.

The game itself is very similar to the 2016 game, with a number of small UI and gameplay improvements. I’m loving it.


One could be optimistic and hope that by nerfing the few stand-out weapons, it would allow them to tune down the overall difficulty a touch so that more things become viable. But yeah, I don’t think that will happen. It would be nice if I didn’t have to basically see a run as dead if it hasn’t got an Ice bow by the nth level though.

FWIW I do think there is a right was to play, and it was interesting watching Patrick play a very passive way relying on abilities. I think its exacerbated by streaming, but I honestly think the best way to play is fast and lose and build up muscle-memory of the dodges/counters for each set of enemies, which Patrick never really got a chance to do because of the dependence on Grenades.

Also, in counter to diglett’s suggestion (not throwing shade) I just started Hollow Knight and found the traditional Metroidvania progression to be incredibly frustrating / limiting. It sits in contrast to Dead Cells/Dark Souls where the main limitation on progression is Player skill, and with DPS as a backup, but here it feels far too obviously linear in how each area is gated


I’ve been playing the PC adaptation of Twilight Struggle almost daily over the past week, trying to come to grips with the rules and basic strategy. Today I managed to win against the AI for the first time, which is a step up from me losing multiple games from beginner misplays. (I’m not sure I understand the thematic point of “DEFCON suicide”, but at least I’ve figured out the mechanics)

I’m sort of playing Twilight Struggle in anticipation of Playdek’s adaptation of Volko Ruhnke’s Labyrinth (still supposed to be released this year?). But really what I’m waiting for is the unannounced COIN game…

(Rob Zacny wrote about this a little while ago: GMT Games Already Make Great Tabletop Wargames, Now They're Going Digital)


I just started Frozen Synapse 2.

I only played it for about 90 minutes but holy shit. This game is special. I had such a good moment when I left a checkpoint I had set up to go after a relic, predictably lost funding from the faction, then like 20 minutes later the District the faction operates in called me up and literally cut like 50% of my funding and all they said was “I’m disappointed in you.” Then we decide that we need help with the relics and the game decides to call up the leader of the faction who I fucked over with the checkpoint and they commented that I was a bad leader because I left the checkpoint and were more reluctant to work with me as a result. Like. I know intellectually that it was just gears turning but Markov Geist feels fucking great to inhabit and feels more living than any Rockstar game I’ve ever played, for example.

Also the music. Oh my god the music.