Archive for the ‘Video Game Reviews’ Category

Stardew Valley

Posted: December 20, 2016 by Micah in Video Game Reviews

Internet! Hello, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and gee willakers… or whatever. So normally this is the time of year where I sit back and write some sort of Christmassy thing about how much Christmas movies suck, or why I hate Christmas songs that don’t make sense (Hi, Wonderful Christmas Time) but this year we’re gonna do something different, something better. Something… something entirely un-Christmas related!!

A Day in the Life: Stardew Valley

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It’s all good in the valley!

 

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to dust off the tiny, unused corner of this website that is the Video Games section and talk about a game that is literally the last thing I ever expected to be actually enjoying. A game about… well not much, frankly.

So Stardiew Valley starts off as most games do with you making a character. As I knew this was a game where you played a farmer and a game where people would be saying my name a lot, this bore some serious thought. So after much thought I went with the name David Pumpkin as tribute to what is inarguably Tom Hanks’ greatest contribution to film. This (regardless of the rest of the game) has brought me no end of joy. “Thanks, David Pumpkin!” “Look, it’s Farmer David Pumpkin” “Of course I won’t go to the spring dance with you, David Pumpkin.” These are the sweet sweet moments that bring me joy… well except for that last one. Which really did happen.

sv2

I prefer to think of myself as a… voluntary non-participant… not a wallflower.

 

Anyway, once I completed making David Pumpkin, I learned that at the outset of the game David Pumpkin was nothing but a worker drone, at an office with no light or happiness, desperately pining away the hours of his life… … Sorry, what we’re we talking about… got real depressed there for a second. Oh yeah, David Pumkin (tee-hee.)

So I learned that upon passing away my grandfather had left me his farm in a little place called Stardew Valley. And so shedding the shackles of the corporations I left my job and moved to my grandfather’s cottage and began my work on Pumpkin Farms.

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Home sweet Valley.

 

When you first step into your farm you literally have no idea what anything is at all. Ever. Someone hands you some parsnip seeds and some tools and tells you to go and make some money, David Pumpkin! So you do what you can, you plant your seeds, you water your seeds, you talk lovingly to your seeds, and promise them a brighter future where someone definitely won’t cook and eat them. You wander through the town, meeting your neighbors and listening to them slowly change from faceless drones to real characters. Pumpkin farms slowly spread out from parsnips and into cauliflower and peas and kale because no one knows what kale is really good for but they will pay a LOT of money for it let me tell you.

Honestly, I’ve barely scratched the surface of all of the things you can do in Stardew Valley. There are 4 seasons to this game every year and I’m not even through the first season, but I’ve already got a chicken coop, a kiln, and a crippling need to be loved by a bunch of very poorly pixelated townspeople who (to be clear) mostly hate me.

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Like me dang it!!

 

There’s nothing like crazy revolutionary about Stardew Valley but what it does incredibly well is just be relaxing and engaging. It’s very relaxing because I mean… you’re a farmer. You’re not a farmer who fights aliens in Washington DC or a farmer thrust into battle with a dragon, you’re just a farmer. You wake up every day and do your chores, grow your crops, talk to your neighbors, maybe collect some ore from the mine, or try and get Leah from next door to acknowledge your existence!! It’s all the simple pleasure of farming, without actually having to… ya know… work on a farm.

The other thing it does really well is the “one more day” factor. “Well” you’ll think to yourself. “My cauliflower should be ripe tomorrow, I’ll play one more day so I can sell those.” And you do. But then you say to yourself, “Well… if I get 50 more wood and some copper, I can make a tree sapper and get some of that sweet sweet syrup in me! I’ll play one more day…” And so on and so on and so on. And so on.

Final thoughts: For both me and my wife, Stardew Valley has been a great experience (for just 15 dollars on the Steam Store.) Life gets super stressful around the holidays and our lives have been nuts lately even beyond that so it’s been just really great to get to sit together for a few hours after a long crazy day and just talk and laugh and try and get the parsnips harvested in time. It has been a fantastic game, creating a fantastic time, where we can escape from our troubles and chill out on Pumpkin Farms, with the legend that is: David Pumpkin.

And there you have it guys, a video game post… cause those are things we do here. Check back in on Thursday as I make one last desperate attempt to get into the Christmas spirit and write about Christmassy things.

 

 

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I am occasionally somewhat fiscally irresponsible. This will probably come as no great shock to you, as I (generally speaking) have all the maturity of a wandering newborn cactus. Recently, because I had not bought something I didn’t need in  the last five minutes or so I spent 40 dollars on a new game called Pillars of Eternity. Now, just to be clear I currently have zero free time. None. Between the writing, and the teaching, and the careful cultivation of my developing zombie horde I am swamped… but here’s a brief summary of my first hour or two with Pillars of Eternity.

Pillars of Eternity: Brought to you by the Rock Council.

Pillars of Eternity: Brought to you by the Rock Council.

The first thing you have to do when setting out to get Pillars of Eternity started is create your character. This can take pretty much no time at all, or it can be a long and drawn out and take a long time if you’re the sort of person who tends to obsess unnecessarily over the small details.

So after an hour or so I was done creating my character and had decided to go with an Elven Hunter, not exactly new, exciting territory but I love some good bow gameplay and it meant I got to have a pet which left me with yet more choices to obsess over.

You can have a wolf as a pet but that just seemed a little to Dr. Quinn to me so I decided to leave that one alone. You could also have a boar but that seemed just… delicious. Like that boar would not last long before I had served him up between some all beef patties with special sauce… if you know what I mean. Which left me with an antelope, a deer, or a lion. And since my primary goal here was not to distract my enemies with delicious venison and/or have them watch my deer and my antelope play, I went ahead and got a lion. This gave me a chance to both sing songs from the Lion King repeatedly and, ya know, have a freaking lion. So it seemed like a win.

"Meet my lion, meet my lion, if he eats you you'll be cryin'..." Sorry, Disney fans, did that one on purpose.

“Meet my lion, meet my lion, if he eats you you’ll be cryin’…” Sorry, Disney fans, did that one on purpose.

Once I actually started the game I learned that my character was part of a caravan travelling to a place to get some land from someone… probably. But I got sick and then had to go and find a way to cure myself by picking some berries… cause that’s a thing that happens. So I murdered some wolves who were upset about my Dr. Quinn joke, got myself some magical snozberries, and was healed!!!!

And then someone murdered everyone in my caravan. Well everyone except for a woman person (who had come with me on my berries quest) and a very badly wounded man person, who may or may not have been wounded because of my inability to talk some people into not badly wounding him. Basically, I called the guy using him as a human shield a coward and then that guy slashed the other guy  (who I’ll call… Bilbert) across the chest. So me and Bilbert and the lady (…Brenda) all went to take shoulder from the storm inside a nearby cave. When we got to the cave Bilbert wanted to rest (as people with gaping chest holes) will do but Brendabert wanted to keep going.

I decided to take a break (feeling just a little bad about being the cause of Bilberts huge new Chest window.) But when we woke up lo and behold Brendabert had snuck off into the darkness and STOLEN MY STUFF!! So, I followed her only to find that she had been deathmurdered by a trap not to far away from me: because karma. So I got my stuff back by being a creeper and stealing it from her and then me and Bilbert wandered happily through the cave until, upon exiting we got hit by some sort of magical death wave and Bilbert died.

So to recap: I arrived on a caravan (and they all died,) a girl stole some stuff for me (and she died,) and my one true friend and chest trauma victim also died. So things are going well so far.

Sometimes it takes all of your friends dying horribly to convince you to get a smaller, less rock infested, apartment.

Sometimes it takes all of your friends dying horribly to convince you to get a smaller, less rock infested, apartment.

But you know what my lion leaned over and told me as I rose up from mysteriously surviving said magical death wave?? He looked at me with his big liony eyes and he said: “Hakuna Matata!! What a wonderful phrase! Hakunah Matatah their dead but it’s okay!!”

And so I gathered myself up, dusted myself off, and continued my quest and thus will (no doubt) cause the deaths of many MANY more people.

Bioshock: Infinite

Posted: August 28, 2014 by Micah in Video Game Reviews
Tags: , ,

All right so last week Steam (a wonderful, horrible place that saves you money and costs you money simultaneously) ran a huge sale on a game called Bioshock: Infinite. Now, I’m not a huge gamer in that I have ZERO free time and the free time I do have is time I should definitely be using to do something profitable but everyone seems to mutually agree that this game is AWESOME. I posted on Facebook asking for people’s opinion and was drowned under a deluge of people saying I should buy it. I mean, I’m not a super popular person but I’m pretty sure people friended purely to tell me to buy this game… and potentially to steal my credit card info… I should really take that off my homepage huh?

Anyway, I bought Bioshock: Infinite from Steam which is to guys what a 50% off sign is to women in a shoe store. No you don’t technically need those diamond studded 20 inch heels but they’re just so dang cheap!!! So I bought it and here is what happened…

 Bioshock: Infinite

For real though: it looks like that.

For real though: it looks like that.

Okay so I woke up to find myself in a boat traveling towards a lighthouse which looked vaguely familiar to me (it’s been a LONG time since I played the first two games) and shortly after arriving at the tower one thing became incredibly clear to me: I was insane. Off the chain. Released from the mortal tether of brainhood. A few cabbages short of an adorable baby doll, if you know what I mean.

Wait... there's a video game??? Also, where IS my pony?

Wait… there’s a video game??? Also, where IS my pony?

Bioshock has a fairly long history of completely insane people being the main character and this game was not any exception.

So anyway for this game I was transported to the highest of high heavens wherein a bunch of other crazy people were living idyllic lives in a floating city called Columbia. A city filled with calm, tranquility, and horrible racism. The racism (as it turns out) is just one of this cities many problems and now that I’ve shown up the entire thing falls completely apart and streets formerly filled with the laughter of children and 1920’s barber shop quartets were doomed to be filled with gunfire, horrible screams, and my hilarious inability to aim.

Now, when I first arrived my goal was to capture a girl and bring her back down to the surface world, which sounds harsh but as it turns out she was already captured by someone else which I’m pretty makes it okay. Like stealing something that somebody else had already stolen!!… Except, ya know, a human… which still sounds pretty bad. Anyway, I found this girl person after raining horrible death and destruction all over the walls around Columbia’s soldiers (cause I can’t aim) but for some reason she didn’t want to be brought to the surface to someone who had paid to have her kidnapped. Women.

She (for some lady reason) wanted to go to Paris and live a free happy life away from conflict and the very real possibility that I would accidentally shower her with a hail of bullets. I don’t want to give away much more of the story but to say that it had a roller coaster storyline would be like saying the pacific ocean had “some water” in it. And in typical Bioware fashion right as I thought I had all the insanity figured out, the insanity got more insane, the figures got unfigured and it was quickly revealed that I had no idea what was going on.

The Gameplay:

Bioshock: Infinite plays from a first person perspective (meaning you’re “in the head” of your character) and is 93% a shooter game (meaning you shoot stuff.) I say 93% cause the other 7% is made up of a “magic” system that the game calls “Vigors” which are essentially the only reason I lived through the game.

As I may have mentioned I have all the precise aiming ability of a Ferret with double vision… who’s drunk. So the only way I beat the game was through the cunning use of Vigors, which I would basically use like land mines. So I’d set up an obstacle course of explosive lava mountains using precision and mathematical algorithms, then carefully  lured someone in and watch as he magically dodged all my traps and punched me in the face with a shotgun. At which point I would freak out and randomly lob grenades until everyone was dead, burning, and melted (this usually included me.)

Also: huge metal birds of death.

Also: huge metal birds of death.

The controls are smooth though and it plays very nicely. Some of the key assignments are a bit less than ideal but you can re-assign them if you really feel the need to. I did not feel the need to because as anyone who reads this blog could tell you, I prefer to complain hilariously about things. Heck, I’ve made an entire made up career out of complaining about things I could easily avoid.

Visually the game looks great and is both beautifully wonderful and wonderfully horrifiying. It has a very distinct and awesome visual style that is undeniably its own and you won’t forget it.

In Conclusion:

Bioshock: Infinite is a wonderful game. The story is gripping and never lets up, the gameplay is smooth and easy to pick up, and all the whole it’s a wonderful experience. I liked the original Bioshock a lot, the second Bioshock was basically the first Bioshock except… okay so it was pretty much the first Bioshock, but Bioshock: Infinite strikes a perfect balance between creating its own exciting new world and having a familiar feel and look to it. It is (unequivocally) wonderful. Even if you (unequivocally) cannot aim.

Well hey internet, so as occasionally happens on this site I wander through the annals of my e-mails and the vast untapped tappinghood that is this website and I come across some common themes. This theme on this day is that I never ever write anything for the video game section. Honestly that’s mostly because I just don’t have time to play video games most times and because this is (primarily) a movie site. Regardless though, I feel the need to occasionally scatter some breadcrumbs to you starving gamers out there and herein’ I will answer two of the more common questions I tend to get in relation to video games.

What next gen console are you buying?

Umm… none? At the moment. Here’s the thing Playstation and Xbox (technically Microsoft but whatever) released the PS4 and the Xbox One (technically the Xbox 3 but hey who bothers with numbers and countings and things) night unto a year ago and they STILL haven’t released ANYTHING that makes me think I need one or the other. The exclusive games have been terrible or uninteresting and the few games I AM  interested in this year (more on this later) are coming out on the 360 (which I have which is the older model despite the fact that the new Xbox is called the Xbox One.) For reasons. In addition to that, they keep lowering the prices of the Xbox One and the PS4 because people such as myself are not buying their new counsels because there is NO REASON TOO. Honestly, the next console I buy is probably gonna be a PS3. Those are SUPER cheap… well they’re 100 dollars but comparatively that’s pretty cheap and there are a TON of great games on there that I would like to play just about as much as any games coming out on new consoles anytime this year. But anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve said something pretty similar to this on here before so any future e-mails regarding this will be responded to with a live angry zombie badger… so I guess maybe a dead angry zombie badger… technically.

What games are you most excited about this year?

I have two. Both of which come out the same day so that’s gonna be a rough month for me financially… but here they are.

Dragon Age 3:

This is a mood ring. And my mood is NOT GOOD!!

This is a mood ring. And my mood is NOT GOOD!!

One of my favorite games of all time was Dragon Age, it was awesome, the world was huge, the characters were interesting and the combat was fun and took a lot of intelligence to do well. Then the second game came out… and it sucked. I mean, in and of itself I guess it wasn’t terrible, but all of the things I loved about the first game were gone. We were stuck inside one tiny city, the characters were essentially just huge incredibly less interesting caricatures of the original cast, and the fighting became a fairly mindless trudge through a bland story.  A perfect example of this is illustrated in one simple illustration in the first game you could choose between 3 different races and about 9 different starting stories for you character to begin on, in the second game you HAD to be a human and pretty much HAD to start from the same place. That’s right: as an idea for their second game the good folks at Dragon Age REMOVED several awesome features. The third game though (from what I’ve seen) looks like it’s going out of its way to attach itself back to the first game. The world is bigger, the story seems more interesting, and (Here’s hoping) they’ll populate the world with more interesting people. If nothing else they’ve brought back the multiple character race choices even (dare we say it) adding NEW ones. That’s right, a sequel to a game that’s adding new things to that game. It’s crazy, but it just might work.

Lord of the Rings: Shadow of Mordor

As has been fairly well established on this site: I am a huge nerd. But there are few things in this world that I am more hugely nerdy about then Lord of the Rings. I have literally read the books DOZENS of times, watched the movies probably dozens of times and I have played some really really terrible Lord of the Rings games. And I have no regrets. Well okay I have a few regrets. The Fellowship of the Rings games left lasting scars on my psyche I still have nightmares about carrying pigs over my head around Hobbiton… literary shudder… Honestly the best Lord of the Rings game ever is still Return of the King and that was released like… a million years ago. But I still own that game and it is still awesome.

Yeah, the electric powers are nice but the static is MURDER on my hair.

Yeah, the electric powers are nice but the static is MURDER on my hair.

So anyway, Shadow of Mordor is a game that takes place between the Hobbit movies (cause believe it or not those do end at some point) and the Lord of the Rings movies. You play as a Ranger who gets murdered but comes back after somehow bonding with a wraith (think Nazgul) and sets about wreaking his vengeance on the wreaking masses of wreaking orcs. This works for me as a premise, it’s new it’s interesting and it sounds like a decent premise for some new interesting gameplay links!

And that’s it. I’m done. Those are the games I’m excited about. So there you go guys a break from the usual movie fare but hey it’s a Friday, I don’t even post on Fridays so consider this a free look at some gaming stuff that I normally wouldn’t ever talk about! Happy weekend everyone!

Well hey there Internet, and welcome to another preview of the month of October. As many of you (two) avid readers may know my xbox past away in a tragic accident several months ago. We did everything we could, took extreme measures, shocked the heart, and applied all sorts of chordical electrodes but in the end it just couldn’t pull through. However, recently my wife (in a huge display of self sacrifice) bought me a new one for my birthday. In response to this, I can now write about x-box games without crying like a little girl and playing the theme from Titanic. So… here it is.

October 8th

Beyond Two Souls

 Beyond Two Souls is a game starring Ellen Paige that’s all cinemagraphical, and looks beautiful, and is filled with new interesting gameplay elements and stuff. All that said: it’s a PS3 exclusive and I do not own a PS3. I am however the proud owner of an elabaorate, overly complicated, plan that’s predicated by several things I have no control over!! So let’s take a look at that:

I currently have an Xbox 360 and ZERO time to actually play it. I have a list of about 10 games for Xbox 360 that I haven’t played yet that I want to, so I have no interest at all in running out and buying a new console. I can also think of about… 9 games off the top of my head that were PS3 exclusives which I also want to play so why run out and spend forty bajillion dollars on a new console when I can buy a PS3 in several months, spend a lot less money, play great games like this and still be able to ya know… eat and stuff?

It's Cyber Ellen Paige!!! And she's beyond some souls... somehow.

It’s Cyber Ellen Paige!!! And she’s beyond her souls… or something.

October 12th

Pokemon X and Y

There are still Pokemon games coming out? Do they actually make the tv series still? Haven’t we run out of adorable animals to combine with trees, or rocks or whatever? Anyway, I have already told you the long complicated story where Pokemon was all I played for the week after I got a concussion so Pokemon will always hold a special place in the ruined grey matter of my battered skull.

October 18th

Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Awww... it's little-little lego Loki!!

Awww… it’s little-ittle lego Loki!!

Lego games just keep coming out and keep getting more and more interesting! I played through the earlier Lego games with my little brother and have played two of the more recent ones (“Pirates of the Carribean” and “Lord of the Rings”) with my wife (when she feels like laughing at me.) So the chance to run around as Marvel Superheroes breaking lego bricks and smashing things with a hammer? Yeah sign me up for that. I’m down with that business. I’m chimmy with that chonga. I’m taken with that taco. – people say that right? Young cool people with funny hats and plaid shirts? They say that.  

October 25th

Batman Arkham Origins

Ah the piece de resistance or whatever those French commercials say. French is one of those languages that either sounds incredible and eloquent and beautiful or sounds like your vocal chords are throwing a private seizure. I usually opt for the option of 2. I have no idea why I worded that sentence that way… I think my house may have a gas leak. Anyway I was a huge fan of Batman: Arkham Asylum and an even huger fan of the sequal Arkham City, so the third game (technically a prequel to the first game) could force me to come up with a whole new word for huge! Like hugerific, hugetastical, or  (my current front runner) hugemongous.

Yup... he's still awesome.

Yup… he’s still awesome.

In a world where Batman and Superman are about to be in a movie together it’s good to know that I can still run around Gotham city punching people and recklessly leaping off buildings without Superman coming around to have a ridiculously overblown moral quandary with me. So thanks Arkham,… this means a lot to me.

October 29th

Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag

And yet another piece of resistance right here! I’m not gonna lie, I had lost a little bit of faith in the Assasin’s creed series after the third time they released Assasins Creed 2 trying to convince me it was something other then Assasin’s Creed 2 by putting other words behind it. Assassin’s Creed 2: Brotherhood, Assasin’s Creed 2: Sisterhood, and Assassin’s Creed 2: In the Hood might have all been great games but I feel like at some point you could come up with some other numbers or someone slightly less Italian for me to run around as. I bought into Assasin’s Creed 3 cause we were finally moving to a new hero and cause I am (in no uncertain terms) a HUGE history nerd. Putting a game in the Revolutionary war time period in front of me is like covering Edward Cullen in non-fat latte’s and putting him in front of a jr. high girl.

I LOVED Assassin’s Creed 3. Sure the first hour or so was about as slow as the first three hours of Les Miserables (French people are gonna hate this blog) but once the game opened up I was hooked!! This game sets you up as a Pirate AND an Assassin and pretty much just lets you run willy nilly around the Caribbean. That’s right I said willy AND nilly. What’s not to love about that? The answer: nothing.

To answer the question your all asking: yes, this was an entire blog devoted to nothing but video games I either want to play, have played, or was concussed by. You wanna know the scary part? The game I’m most excited about this year isn’t even on this list!!

So we will see you next week guys, in the meantime remember that Gravity (the first whiff of good movie we’ve had since like… July. Comes out tonight and that the Red Sox first playoff game is tomorrow!! So I will probably be somewhere in a coma come next week! Anyway, thanks for reading!

Let me sit you all down and tell you a little story. A story of a handsome, charming, handsome, and hilariously un-self aware man who was lucky enough to marry a beautiful, smart, (and fortunately for him) forgiving woman. Said man (who we will call… Micah) learned that his wife (while not showing a great interest in video games) did like one particularly genre of games. Namely: Nancy Drew.

“Nancy Drew?” You say. “The one from those books that you haven’t ever even a little bit read?”

“Yup.” I reply, gazing up at the wheeling ceiling above me. “That Nancy Drew.”

This Nancy Drew, renowned taker of poses and wearer of jeans.

This Nancy Drew, renowned taker of poses and wearer of age appropriate jeans.

Not only had I never read the Nancy Drew books before, but I had never heard of Nancy Drew, or whatever it is that she happened to be drawing. Apparently there’s this whole subculture of Nancy Drew-ites dwelling right here amongst us. They look like me and you, but secretly, deep, deep down where they keep their deepest desires and most secret cupcake recipes they believe that the best way to lock a door is to come up with an elaborate math algorithm or Chinese box puzzle. They believe that there are other ways to beat video games then murdering everyone in site or nuking everyone out of site. They believe that if you sit down and think through a problem, you will probably just end up hitting a bunch of random keys and hoping for the best. They believe…. in Nancy Drew.

Allow me to describe to you the gist of a Nancy Drew game using the plot of the most recent Nancy Drew game to come out, “Nancy Drew: And the Ghost that Jack Built.” I mean… “Nancy Drew and the Ghost of Thornton Hall.”

You are dropped off at Thornton Island a place legendarily haunted by the memory of when Eddie Murphy was funny and– I mean by the ghost of a girl named… ummm…. something. We’ll call her– Petunia. That’s a good ghostly name right? Anyway Petunia’s ghost may or may not have abducted another girl whose name I also don’t remember but just so that we don’t confuse her with Petunia I will call this particular girl, Kenneth.

Talking to people is a big part of Nancy Drew games. I just wish I could keep my keys in a place that easy to find.

Talking to people is a big part of Nancy Drew games. I just wish I could keep my keys in a place that easy to find.

So Petunia may have kidnapped Kenneth and it’s up to us as Nancy Drew to get to the bottom of things. On the journey to said bottom (which sounds WAY creepier then I thought it was going to originally) we run across Kenneth’s Fiance’, Kenneth’s Uncle, Kenneth’s mother, and Kenneth’s crazy Aunt. All of these people have something to hide and a big part of the game is talking to each of them and trying to figure out what they know, what they are hiding, and why in the WORLD they named their daughter Kenneth. Stupid people, Kenneth’s are for kids!!– I mean boys.

The other big part of Nancy Drew games are the puzzles. All manner and canner of puzzles are thrown at Nancy having to do with various topics such as Math, logic, time-space transference, the square root of pie, and how to make a battery out of an orange (no for real… that was in there.) These puzzles make up the bulk of the game and really do tax the brain like the ancient Romans taxed people they didn’t like as much.

Here's an example of a puzzle. I would tell you how to solve it but I have NO idea. At all.

Here’s an example of a puzzle. I would tell you how to solve it but I have NO idea. At all.

My wife actually plays Nancy Drew; controlling the character, talking to the people, solving most of the puzzles etc. I am the Watson to her Sherlock, the Nurse to her doctor, the pickle water to her cucumber and as such mostly I just sit there and offer semi-helpful, rarely accurate, often ridiculous advice, which she mostly ignores (correctly). Every once in a while though through careful study, diligent work, and complete and total dark stabbing I am able to get a puzzle right. For me this is like winning the lottery, the Bachelorette, and the Hunger Games all at once and usually after such activities I sit there in smug self satisfaction until the next puzzle comes along and I am reminded that I have no actual idea how I solved the last one.

A couple semi-review like thoughts:

Nancy Drew is a surprisingly fun game (or game series if you want to be entirely accurate.) I mean I’m not selling my Skyrim disc to buy the next game or anything but they’re interesting and a nice break from the constant murder-death of other video games.

You do have to go into Nancy Drew with an iron will though. Unless you are significantly smarter then me (not difficult unless you’re a caterpillar) AND my wife (VERY difficult) these puzzles will stump you. WILL. You will sit and stare at your computer for HOURS trying to figure out how on earth you’re supposed to get tile B next to Tile C while block 4 maintains it’s geosynchronous orbit with Venus and you will probably still not get it. That said, when you DO finally figure it out, when the lights come on and the cows come home you will feel like Einstein!!! Until the next puzzle that is.

I feel like the squiggly lines under or else are a little bit overkill. We get it Murderer person. No need to shout.

I feel like the squiggly lines under or else are a little bit overkill. We get it Murderer person. No need to shout.

Another nice thing about these games is they’re cheap and easy to run on just about any computer. I mean I bought my laptop used from a T-rex in the Pre-mezazzoic era and it runs Nancy Drew just fine. You can get a copy of some of the older games in the series for about… ten bucks on Steam which is not exactly a steep price in today’s gaming world where you have to drop sixty bucks just to get to hold the wrapping on a new game.

The most important thing about these games for me really is that it’s a great way for me and my wife to just hang out and play a game that is equal parts relaxing and challenging. That’s what I would recommend this game for, if you’re a hardcore gamer with callouses on your thumbs from murder and death and lack of social skills, this game will probably not push your buttons (gaming metaphor.) But if you’re a relative newby to the gaming world, a couple looking to spend a few hours puzzling through stuff together, or just someone looking for a fun way to kill some time and exercise your brain; go ahead an give Nancy Drew a try. You might just be surprised by what you find.

So there you have it friends, a Nancy Drew review, bet you never thought you’d see that on here huh? Well, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled pop-culture madness Thursday when I will (probably) review Now You See Me! Until then, thanks for reading and have a good week!

I post a lot on this blog (in case you hadn’t noticed) if I could sum up the energy for another four or five mouse clicks I would tell you exactly how many posts I’ve done but the ludicrous amount of energy required for such activities makes me want to break out my inner hiberbear and get to sleeping. I’ve posted a lot though so… yeah. Trust me on that one. If you’ve ever bothered to peruse the Categories on the sidebar you may have noticed a growing trend: I post pretty much everything in either Randomnicity or Movie Reviews. They are (for the sake of this illustration) my favorite children. The upstanding comic book loving, baseball playing, model children who get full ride scholarships and appear on national television.

Sports and Video games are (inversely) my red headed step children who sleep out in the snow and… why do we pick on red heads so much anyway? I like red heads. Karen Gillan is a red head and she’s awesome. And hot. Rupert Grint was a red head and he’s– yeah nevermind. But Karen Gillan is a red head.

Sports and Video games are (inversely) my blue headed stepchildren who sleep out in the cold and the snow without shoes or hiberbears. I haven’t posted in the sports column since last baseball season (I think) but I’ve also published a couple sports related podcasts (with more on the way) so at least I’m occasionally throwing sports a half empty can of green beans and some flip flops. But now that I’m between summer movies and have previewed just about everything I can, let’s go ahead and throw video games some tender loving care shall we? Or at the very least a can of cream of mushroom soup (cause what exactly do you use that for anyway), with a list I like to call:

Micah’s Top Three Video Games of 2013

Assassin’s Creed Black Flag

I’m not really ranking these games in any particular order as I fluctuate between them depending on which has most recently released a trailer, like a small child unable to choose which Ice Cream he truly loves (except with less maturity and more facial hair.) Assassin’s Creed Black Flag is the next entry in the much beloved, occasionally hated Assassin’s Creed series. I REALLY liked the last game, Assassin’s Creed: Tanto’s Revenge, but didn’t really care for the second entry of the series (or the fact that they released three different versions of the same game and tried to pretend it was a sequel. This would be like me selling you a plain ham sandwich then coming back the next day with some lettuce and miracle whip and trying to get you to pay the same price for them.) That said, Black Flag looks great and promises to continue some of the coolest parts of Assassin’s Creed: Not At All Racist by letting us once more captain a pirate ship.

Watch Dogs    

Watch Dogs looks like Assassin’s Creeds older, smart, more athletic brother in that it’s still sort of a stealth/action/murder hybrid but this one is set in modern day Somethington and prominently features you computer hacking into traffic lights, ATM’s, and grandmothers to achieve your goals. Hacking is one of those things I would totally be into if it wasn’t illegal and didn’t involve actual intelligence, so a chance to do it in a video game sounds like a really great way for me to be a hacker without the risk of jail time or brain use.

Dragon Age 3

I haven’t actually seen a trailer for this game yet (they haven’t released one) but it’s set for release this year which excites me. I LOVED Dragon Age 1. LOVED. Dragon Age 1 was the Kierra Knightely of my video game life (Mass Effect is Karen Gillan… if you were wondering). I beat Dragon Age 1 like… five times. The world was huge, the characters were interesting, the combat was fun, and the dialogue was great. It was like someone broke into my brain took my ideas for a perfect video game and put them on a screen, and I was happy.

When Dragon Age 2 was announced I was excited, sure it looked different (graphics engine was completely changed), sure my dialogue options were more limited (actual talking rather than just text) but, hey, it was Dragon Age right? Well… ish. Dragon Age 2 (to continue an illustration that is rapidly becoming the basis for my wife never speaking to me again) was like Scarlett Johansson. There was a lot of hype and hubub and everyone freaked out about it forever and in the end it wasn’t that it was bad it was just that it wasn’t everything everyone kept yabbering on about. I meanI have nothing against Scar Jo but… she’s not great. She’s not a great actress she’s just sort of “mass media attractive.” That was Dragon Age 2, it wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it was just that I didn’t really care. The big world of Dragon Age 1 was stuck into a single city, the awesome dialogue was trying so very hard to be awesome that it mostly just ended up falling all over itself (my favorite example being the Pirate Captainess who the writers felt like every single word she spoke had to be somehow construed as sexual innuendo making her not only hilariously stupid sounding but also giving her the character depth of a worm strewn puddle). I could go on but needless to say I beat Dragon Age 2 once, and then sold it.

Now that Dragon Age 3 has been announced it looks like the developers are actually going to listen to the fans though so I’m allowing myself to be at least a little bit excited. A little bit. Warily. With addendums. But excited none the less.

A Quick Note on PS4 and Xbox One.

A couple people asked for my thoughts on this particular topic so here they are: aside from the weird Xbox One naming thing (why go back to one? Wasn’t there already an Xbox 1 namely, the first xbox? You realize you sound a lot less impressive than the PS4, right?) My main thought is that I don’t really care. Yet. I mean talk to me in February when the consoles have been out for a little bit and people have stopped murdering eachother outside of Walmarts to get them and maybe I’ll care more but given the fact that both these consoles will be selling for roughly the price of a small car for the immediate future my interest is purely academic. I will say that Microsoft FORCING me to get a kinect (the video camera attachment thing that allows you to both play games and look like an idiot) is a little off-putting. When I play a video game microsoft the whole idea is that I want to sit down and relax. Sure dance dance revolution is fun but forcing me to pay extra for something I will probably never EVER use seems a bit presumptious.   

Anyway, there you having it Video Game category, a blanket to keep you warm, some soup to keep you living, and some hope that I will probably crush by not posting in you for another year or so. Thanks for reading everyone and check back Monday for another new post!