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5 hours ago - 11:03 PM on 12.19.2014


Not a lot to talk about this week I'm afraid. It's been pretty uneventful. Last Tuesday at 7PM I finished my final exam here at George Washington U. It was a 24 take-home exam that I worked on for about 18. I slept for a while inbetween, sure, but otherwise it was almost non-stop typing away for 18 hours. I had almost 7500 words on paper by the end of it; it's not something I would wish on anyone.

But like I said, that was the last thing that I still had to do, and the days after I filled with what I like to call "doing exactly bugger-all". I played some games, including a great one gifted to me by my Secret Santa, I watched some movies, I took some naps...

And I said some goodbyes.
Now that the semester is over, people are steadily leaving DC for greener pastures. Some of them are just visting home for Christmas, others were exchange-students like me who are not coming back. I've already had to say goodbye to a Canadian friend, two Germans and one Italian. It's pretty rough sometimes, because with such a diverse international representation the chances of us ever seeing each other again aren't all that high. I mean, Holland to Germany is doable, but I can't say for sure whether I will ever be able to make it to Canada. So then goodbye might very well be goodbye. 

I actually have a very personal blog about this kind of stuff in the works, although I can't promise that I'll ever post it. It kind of depends on my mood going forward. So far I'm holding up pretty well, because I've only had to do a few goodbyes, most of which with Germans who are comparatively visitable. But it's going to be early January a couple of weeks from now, and that's going to be hard times. That's going to be the time when I'll have to say goodbye to some of my best friends here who aren't quite as visitable. The US, India and Canada are big places far away, after all.

On the one hand I look forward to going home. I look forward to seeing my family, my friends, and my cat. I look forward to being able to speak Dutch all day again and not having to worry about awkard accents. I look forward to eating frikandellen. I look forward to playing my WiiU; playing Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros WiiU, the Mario Kart 8 DLC, and possibly more!
On the other hand, I've met some amazing people here that I'd love nothing better than to take with me. Such is life, I suppose.

I'm ending on a downer again, I should stop doing that. You know what'll cheer me up? Video game music! With Christmas being so close upon us, let's make today's theme 'winter'. There's more of that than you'd think!




* - Who the fuck is Laura Kate Dale?

* - Alphadeus got a lot of help for the Dtoid community; good job folks! In fact, he wants to write thank-you music, which is a thing I wish more people did.


A - Triad Gamer looks at licensed video games and sees bright days ahead. Possibly.

P - We're getting double the podcasting goodness, so send in double the questions!

A - Ubisoft's 2014...wasn't great.

A - Lots of censorship going around these days...









T - AsHouses experencied deeper moral choices in Return to Castle Wolfenstein than I thought possible.


L - Solar Pony Django gives us his thoughts on a bunch of comics he picked up. Unfortunately I don't remember most of it because I went into unexplained fits and seizures right when he mentioned the words "Tails Doll".


V - Capcom is running dry of cool people, so where could they go next?

C - Le Smee appreciates that Ubisoft is not EA, which is about the kindest thing one can say.






- ShadeOLight
May you always find water and shade

FPotD










Ho ho ho, the sweet release of death

The holidays are truly upon me now. In a week, I'll be up until at least 3:30AM closing Disney California Adventure, I'll be Christmas shopping, receiving gifts, driving everywhere, and generally be slow on sleep. Maybe every now and then I'll get to play some games, especially with everyone entering that GOTY kind of mood. But my problem is that a lot of the games I played this year were actually from 2013. I mean, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance? It feels like it came out in late 2012 but it came out in February 2013? But it was so good, it deserves to be on another list in a new year! I sort of miss it even though I'd already beaten it on my 360. I wish I could play it on my Wii U...

It's awkward having a Wii U towards the end of 2014. There are so many games to catch up for 2014 and it'd be shame to not give so many great games their worthwhile time when I'm catching up so suddenly so late. Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, and more. But that's the fate of someone who jumps on late I guess. I mean, speaking of jumping on late, I'm amazed there's any room for complaints on the Wii U considering how strong its lineup is. I mean sure, you ain't getting third-party support or diversity in developers, but when you've played one Assassin's Creed, you've played them all, right?

So we have holidays eating my time and late game playing chewing away too. You know what we can really use to strike a mortal blow on my free time while I'm down?

amiibo.

Goddamn amiibo has slowly consumed my life. I"m not even dedicated all that much in collecting and I think the Smash designs are ok. What I really want are real Nintendo portraits as amiibo like Mario Kart, an Arwing, or Captain Toad running in place. Right now we just have the character portraits from Smash in statue form. I mean, Samus is one boring pose. And yet why am I always taking an extra 10 minutes making a stop off GameStop to check their amiibo stock? Or making detours to Target to check their amiibo stock? Or casually setting foot in Best Buy to futilely check their amiibo? Only for each and every one of these moments has ended in disappointment accept for one: when I managed to get a Zelda from one of the last five Zeldas from the wave 2 distribution, with nary a Mac in sight. Just remember that I fucking called it: Little Mac was going out the door first. I was already planning on getting Zelda in the first place because it comes to Smash amiibo, I wanted figures of my mains (and Villager is super sold out of course). But a figure of the controversally powerful Mac or agile Diddy Kong are next to impossible, not to mention Marth, Villager, and hell, I had my chance for Wii Fit Trainer but I skipped it. Not that I actually wanted Wii Fit Trainer.

Seeing Zelda more and more often thanks to amiibo helped me realize just how regal and beautiful the princess is in HD. I have a friend with a brutally powerful Pikachu named Akachu and a Samus that's mildly easier to deal with. I named my Kirby Starfy, who doesn't seem too competitive but my Zelda, Bonnibel, consistently wins matches. I've nearly unlocked all her moves at least on the 3DS version, which I still play because of course what else will I do at work at 11PM while I ignore the rapidly depleting stock?

Work? HAHAHA.

Well, I talk up my Zelda but in reality, I'm still working on it. I couldn't beat one of my friend's friends and I didn't feel like playing my Greninja main. I lost to his Toon Link twice with my Zelda and Villager but of course I end up beating my main friend and his brother handily with a very aggressive Greninja. I guess I should pre-order Greninja but its hard to believe people are actually looking forward to him besides pure collectors.

More motivation to get Hyrule Warriors I guess. Play as Zelda! Stab moblins! Blast fools! Be sexy!Be cute! Rule the kingdom with a just but powerful hand! Destroy the king of evil!

* - Love that 3rd gen Pokemon legacy

* - Top 5 Christmas watchables

* - Le Smee has a short blog about positive teampay mechanics but it should resonate with anyone familiar with playing with asshole randoms and how a simple thing like giving points on revives is such a game changing mechanic on influencing player behavior.

* - GOOFBRUTE'S BEST GAMES OF 2014 INTERESTING CAPTIONS!

* - Cannibalball Steven's top 10 YOU FUCKING KNOW WHAT? RICKY AND MORTY.

* - North Korea has won, how about some games?

C - Free bear hugs with purchase of feel good lessons of the industry


My princess can't be this cute...


~Striderhoang

FPotD

Photo Photo Photo








Note: This blog contains spoilers for both the Harry Potter series and The Hobbit

After many years, I have finally read the last Harry Potter book.

This has been quite a long journey, as being an adult in my early twenties, I naturally grew up with the Harry Potter universe, watching the movies and reading the books. When the last movie was released, I decided to read the last book first so I didn’t spoil the story for myself by watching a subpar adaptation. For some reason, I never really got to reading it until last week, when I decided to sit down and finally read the conclusion to the series.

So, what did I think of it? I enjoyed it! Naturally there were parts that had me questioning a few things (and I will discuss those things in a moment), but overall, it was a fitting conclusion for the saga. Harry and his friends are a bit more mature, and they all have their moments. Except Rony, that is. Rony is just fucking stupid most of the time. Even Neville proves to be more useful than Rony, as he decapitates Nagini right after narrowing escape being burned alive! Truly a badass, that Neville.

Some of the twists were predictable (ohhh, Snape is actually a good guy! Who would have guessed?), and I have to say Voldemort is slightly disappointing as a villain. He’s pure evil, but he doesn’t seem to have much of a brain. Or even all that powerful. I guess that’s how it has to be, so the three seventeen-year olds can outsmart him. But for supposedly being the most powerful wizard there is, so terrifying that people are even afraid of saying his name, Voldemort really doesn’t his title justice. The only spell he ever uses is “Avada Kedavra”, a spell that kills anyone instantaneously, but that only targets a single person and that any dark wizard worth his name can do. Even Crabbe had a chance to conjure up a more impressive and destructive spell than that – why didn’t Voldemort show similar destructive powers when he was facing multiple opponents at the same time? Also, why does he have such a hard time capturing Harry? The dialogue Harry has with Voldemort at the end is almost laughable, because of how naïve it makes Voldemort sound.

I’m also not sure what to think of Harry’s death and rebirth at the end. It was definitely interesting and heart-warming, and maybe a necessary addition so Dumbledore could have a chance to have only last conversation with Harry, but part of me thinks it undermines the deaths of some of the characters. After all, dying in the Harry Potter universe doesn’t seem so bad, you reunite with your folks and live in a place anything you think of materializes right before your eyes, like in the Matrix. I’m of the opinion that there is no after-life, that there is nothing after you die. That when you die you just… cease to exist. Maybe that’s a depressing view, but I have a hard time believing in the existence of heaven or hell. Either way, we’re never going to be sure if there’s something after death - and maybe it’s better if we don’t. Imagine if we could somehow prove the existence of a life after death, wouldn’t some people kill themselves when they were depressed if they knew they could go to a happier place? But I digress.

It feels satisfying to have finally read all of the books. They’re good books, with good mysteries and characters. The movies are just okay, and in my opinion they got progressively worse after Prisoners of Azkaban. The actors grew up but their acting skills did not. The stories in the books got more complex but the movies got shorter. The action sequences that were intense in the book felt flat in the movies. You get the picture.

Speaking about movies, I also saw part 3 of The Hobbit! After part 2 I was expecting it to be bad, but it was actually pretty cool. It feels like a prolonged conclusion to the events of the first two movies, yet it doesn’t get boring. If you like flashy action and long battle sequences, then boy, are you in for a treat.

There is still the made up romance of Kili and what’s-her-name, but its tragic conclusion makes this subplot feel a bit more meaningful than it was in the second movie. Thorin is an ass, though he also saves face by the end of the movie. Bilbo is a nice character and definitely a better Hobbit than Frodo, though he’s still not as cool as Sam. Frodo was just a little bitch, but Sam was much wiser, fiercely loyal, focused and courageous. Bilbo has some of those qualities, despite having a comedic/goofy demeanor which I’m not sure I like.

Oh, I also have to mention that I loved the 3D and higher framerate of this movie. In the theater I watched, it looked great! I disagree with people that think higher framerates than 24fps for movies take something away from the experience. For a movie that uses heavy CGI and 3D effects like The Hobbit, the higher framerate makes the action look fantastic. I hope in the future we get more movies that break this norm.

Anyway, that’s enough from me for today. It’s recapping time!

* - Gray Times had a tough time growing up, but video games provided him with a form of escapism, helping him overcome the obstacles in his way. His is a story I’m sure many people gamers can relate to.

* - SpielerDad goes on a rant about precocious kids that behaves like adults and he remembers old educational games.

* - Alphadeus is a well-known member of the community that has been writing music for free for years, even making two albums based on Destructoid members. Now he’s in a bit of a bad spot, and he would greatly appreciate if you could spare him a few dollars.

A - bmg123 is disappointed with the way PlayStation is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Can’t you see people want to give you their money, Sony?

A - Hatred was removed from Steam Greenlight. TheGentleGamer gives his opinion on the matter.

R - TheKodu reviews Shaqdown2, and it’s not the best thing after sliced bread.

T - Bro, you should totally check out eightbitssamurai’s thoughts on Broforce.

M - Listen to these great fan-made videogame albums, they’re all Hoffmann approved.

Here's Spock singing about Bilbo Baggins in the weirdest video you will see today

No fails this Tuesday! See you next week!

-Script

FPotD

Photo Photo Photo








As I type this today, I am trying to solve the mystery of how I keep cutting my left index finger on things. It happened a few times in the same day and I don't know how and its making typing this mildly frustrating, to be honest. I suspect it might have been the cap of a 2-liter bottle of Cranberry Ginger Ale, but upon inspection there was no evidence of sharp, plastic, cutty protrusions on it. 

It's still possible that due to holiday demand in recent years that Cranberry Ginger Ale bottles have evolved defense mechanisms such as plastic slicey burrs to ward off nimrods who think they are only produced for the holidays. Seriously, that stuff is made and stocked year-round where I live, but its only around Thanksgiving and Christmas that it becomes harder to get at my local store. I'm really not much about this idea that particular food and drink only happen around certain holidays. I think creamed corn and baked maccaroni and cheese should be a year-round thing... though more people could stand to bake jalapenos into the latter. 

Then again, I stick those on pizza, burgers and anything else I can justify. I had a Hawaiian style pizza with jalapenos and barbeque sauce from Domino's last week. It was glorious. 

Anyway. now that I've likely made you crave food and drinks, you should probably go get some of that and come back.

I'll wait. 

Now that you're probably back or stuffing your face, let's talk about video games! Sadly not much to say about Persona Q right here today. I'll get to that later.

I recently finished Freedom Wars' main story campaign. Well, truth be told, I did the final boss early in a random online co-op game over two weeks ago. You get a little certificate stating you can skip a story mission in single player if you already beat it online. I sat on it until last Wednesday because of pride and wanting to beat the mission solo but after several tries I gave in and used my certificate with no shame.

Now I can upgrade my weapons sufficiently to go back later and kick that boss' ass myself. The story does seem to continue past the credits and so my quest for bigger, better knives, autocanons and submachine guns will continue, though probably at a more relaxed pace. I still have tons to do there and I've got like 793,803 years left to work off on my sentence. I save the New York Panopticon from destruction and even that is not good enough to wipe the slate clean and let me become a proper citizen. That's gratitude for you.

Then again, all I know of being a citizen is saving them from Abductors. That and even with Ripley being the tiniest character I could make, she's still slighly taller than a citizen. Apparently citizens are people that are small, smart and get kidnapped by robots a lot. Some of them have real nerve talking down to sinners. 

Not all, but some are certainly jerks.

That said I have attained what I believe is Ripley's final form. I was going for "badass cutie" with it. She looks like a very sexy 70's/80's comicbook superheroine. A little Vixen, a little Domino.

Crimson sometimes cosplays as Margaret from Persona 4, Nemissa from Soul Hackers, Elena from Final Fantasy VII and others but she's usually in her own sexy new jumpsuit.

The endgame stuff in Freedim Wars is really clusterfucky at times and if you've yet to play, you'll learn as early as later Code-2 missions that the game will overwhelm you and that the best defense to just get out of the robo-beast's way half of the time. Equipping defense augmentation does not do much to save you from getting squished.

Suffice to say, the endgame content has made me seriously step up my evasion game and I'm now starting to be able to zip around environments and robobeasts more effectively. That's no small feat considering I'm using the Hunter control scheme (AKA "The Claw) which moves camera control to the D-Pad. At first, this switch was made because my right stick is messed up, but it proved to be the better option. You see, to saw off Abductor limbs, heads, wings, legs and such you have to mash Circle and that makes it impossible to pan the camera to check for other potential threats, so having the camera moved to the D-Pad ends up being an asset and lets me look around.

I've managed to lop off both of an Abductor's arms and its head before touching the ground again. Its pretty exhilarating once you get the hang of it. I've also taken to using submachine guns since I can cling to a wall and shoot. It lets me often avoid damage, get a better view of the area and take out some infantry from above. Then, I hop down and chop off giant robot limbs with my Ea's Knife. I don't stay up shooting from walls for long because I like dismembering things.

I'm going to ease off Freedom Wars a little to focus on other games. Probably gonna juggle Persona Q, Etrian Odyssey Untold and Dragon's Crown for a bit. Or maybe do Parasite Eve, never really played it, but it has been sitting in my PSN library forever.

I'm only a little ways into the third dungeon of Persona Q, but it's because I ended up doing what I was doing in Persona 3 Portable. I get a little obsessed with padding out the Persona compendium, I guess, so I end up grinding for a bit too long and end up being really overpowered for later areas. Persona Q is less forgiving than Persona 3 and 4 are in terms of combat, but I've made some lovely personas of late that will be useful as I progress.

I have a couple Persona Q-related blogs prepped for this week. Lots of thoughts on that one, but too many for this blog, so we'll save those for later and get on these recaps!

P - Radio Dtoid #51 - Now with 100% more electric toothbrushes!

M - n0signal recounts favorites from 2014.

C - Hoff is thinking about building a sort of IMDb for video game characters and would like your feedback!

R - Lara Croft awakens an ancient Egyptian god. Oops.

T - Solar Pony has been instructed to praise the sun. What kind of solar pony needs to be told that?

C - A long-winded, oddly-structured way of saying "Telltale's The Walking Dead isn't really a game." Also, the lead paragraph went nowhere.

L - Nintendo is getting real obscure with those retailer-exclusive Amiibos.

S - [Insert same reason for fail as last week] Git gud. Post more than a video.

S - Nice video. Where's the beef?

F - No.

FPotD










This week, I've been spending more time with Dragon Age: Inquisition than Persona Q. I haven't forgetten about the latter, I promise! It's just I heard that, after a certain event happens in the former, that the game really starts to hit its stride, and I wanted to see if it does. It took me a little longer to make it to that point though because the Hitherlands is full of fetch quests to do that anyone with OCD will put themselves through hell trying to do it all! Seriously, as someone who has typically completed around 90% of the six Assassin's Creed games on previous gen consoles (planning to get Rogue when it gets cheaper), I know the pain of wanting to clear the icons off the mini-map. I finally had to force myself out of the "completionist" mindset when I realize that I wasn't having that much fun doing things for the sake of doing things, and it was the better idea. The story missions are definitely more engaging than "go here, talk to him, get what he needs and come back"... even if you are doing essentially the same thing, but with dialogue choices and cutscenes. Now that I made it to the supposed "now the real adventure begins!" part of the story, it feels like the game really does open up, but I haven't played enough to really tell. Maybe next week I'll give my impressions, though I hear I'm also in the last half of the story, which is a real shame if so, considering Origins took me 40 hours to complete.

Then again, I spent three hours just talking to everyone at the new base, so...

I've got more time to game and write blogs for a little while because this week was finals week for my college courses! While I did absolutely horrible on my Intro to Computer Programming's multiple-choice test by getting a 53% (it's done electronically, so I saw my grade immediately), I think I did pretty well on the second "programming" part of the test, and already gathered enough extra credit and good marks to more than make up for that slight mishap. Whatever the case, I think I'm fine, and I'm glad that that class is over, even if I did learn a thing or two! I'm definitely more interested in my other class, Intro to Computer Animation, though! As I said before, I really enjoyed taking that course, and my professor is a really cool person: he's helpful, interacts with the other students to better improve their work, and is totally a gamer! While he isn't the first teacher I've taken a liking to, he might be the only teacher that I might actually keep in touch with after school!

...Er, totally didn't mean to make it sound like that! :P

The last day in class in the Animation class was also pretty nice! Normally for college courses, there's not really anything in the way of saying goodbye, as people are usually in a hurry to go. It makes sense, as we're now adults with places to go and things to do, but it kinda makes me sorta nostalgic for the days in high school, where it's more or less a big deal. For this last meeting, it feels reminiscent to those days because the teacher decides for us all to watch each other's final animation project together for the first time to offer critique right then and there! It was really amazing to see the works my fellow students have made, even if they only last a couple of seconds, because you can tell that these are some creative and definitely talented people! My teacher also said that we were apparently one of the faster learning class he has teached for absolute beginners! Apparently, I was one of the most weirder students, as my animation clocks in around 25 seconds or so, and was more of a scene than an "character" introduction that we were supposed to do. However, I'm actually somewhat proud of it despite how simple it is! As a creative person myself, I like to look at my works, whether it's fanfiction or blogs, and see what I have created because I know that I did that myself! Even better if someone praise it!

As always, something on television usually gives me something to talk about, and this week was the first time I've seen the Cartoon Network show Sonic Boom! It's also the first TV show I'm talking about that's actually related to videogames, so that's a special bonus! While I haven't played the game (so I can't form my own opinion until I have), I hear that it's absolutely dreadful, so I was a bit wary going into the show. I'm sure it wasn't going to be as bad as the game "is", but then again, that one new CG show on Disney XD featuring a disturbing version Pac-Man was too cringe-worthy to watch all the way. Ugh, I don't think I'll ever talk about that anytime soon, seeing as how Halloween has already passed. I also don't like the show about Rayman's Rabbids either as it's very annoying, and the slapstick-only comedy gets real old real quick. Maybe one day I'll go more in-depth with both these two shows, but for now, they are reasons why I'm so skeptical of TV shows based on videogames.

However, to my surprise, Sonic Boom is certainly very watchable!

The animations aren't too shabby, though in one instance it looked like Sticks was getting it on with Knuckles... but that might be my overexposure to Sonic porn. The character models look pretty good, though if you think Sonic looks weird with his scarf, you should see him in a jacket during the episode "My Fair Sticksy". And the voice acting doesn't seem to grate on my nerves... aside from Sticks. Actually, Sticks hasn't made a good impression on me in the couple of episodes I watched as she comes off obnoxious and annoying, and not in the endearing way. I also feel mixed about Knuckles: he's now the "big, dumb guy" of the group, whereas he was "the hot-head" in the games, but there's a couple of moments where it got a laugh out of me, like when he "tried out" to be Sonic's sidekick or the part when Sticks gets a letter. He's not a complete idiot like, say, Ed from Ed, Edd, 'n' Eddy, and certainly not as lovable, but he isn't as bad a character as his new design is. Speaking of humor, the jokes and delivery are pretty snappy, and some of them surprised me enough to let loose a chuckle or two!

I intend to keep watching the series: it may not be "must-see TV", and the pacing is too rushed in my opinion, but it's not bad, and could get better!

* - Nothing makes an RPG like the party companions, and Hyper Lemon Buster Cannon pays tribute to his team of Poke-pals with this amazing blog about their travels together! Decking the hall with his Hall of Famers, read what their amazing achievements that earned them the top spot in his heart were!

* - You better not shout, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why: with lumps of coal not doing the trick, It's About To Get Gay In Here reports that Santa has another, more devious trick up his sleeve to whip the rascals into shape, but could his new plan be considered borderline child abuse!?

A - Somethings old, somethings new: Mr. Hoffmann (formerly known as Reinhold Hoffmann) gives us a list of his top games of 2014 in no particular order, whether they actually came out this year or not.

A - Like others ready for the end of the year, Ben Grady gives us a list of his own games of 2014! With a tight budget, Ben Grady decides to play through a couple of oldies, some more classic and worth playing than others!

A - Recently picked up an Xbox 360 due to the insane bundles, yet not sure what games to get? Well, DVMatrix has some thoughts on which titles are worth picking up, ranging from the exclusives to the multi-platform cream of the crop last generation!



T - Forgotten Bastion hasn't forgetten about Square Enix's recent trolling with their announcement of Final Fantasy VII PC port for the PS4, so he wants to give his thoughts why an actual remake would be a bad idea since they could potentially ruin the game you all know and love!

T - Solar Pony Django can't make up his mind as to what to play this holiday season with games like Dark Souls and The Secret of Monkey Island, and thus turns to us to trust! He might also be streaming the videogame of our choosing over his Twitch channel!


? - Jacobdekk is a senior editor at a little site called IceDJ Gaming, which houses a group of a small but dedicated group of writers, and he's looking to expand! Whether it's as a writer, video producer, or podcast personality, he asking around for people to recruit! He provides contact information in case you're interested!



- Dreamweaver

FPotD

Photo Photo Photo








Man, this was one uneventful week for me. I did manage to get the last of my Christmas shopping done for my wife. I took a mental inventory of everything that I got her and realized that I, despite being 29-years-old and having been in a few relationships before I met my bride, have absolutely no idea how to shop for a woman.

The good thing about my wife, however, is that she and I have very similar interests. We bonded over videogames and other various nerd culture, so when the majority of her gifts are videogames, it actually works out pretty well for me because it's kind of like I'm buying stuff for myself.

Other than that though, not a whole lot going on for me, this week seems like quite a bit of a blur. The end of the year is fast approaching, so I'm preparing myself for constant “Best of the Year” lists that will inevitably pop up. I don't want that to sound like a complaint, if my blogs are anything to go by, it's pretty apparent that I have a certain affection for list-based articles. I enjoy reading them as much as I do writing them, and rest assured that I have a “Weekly Top 5” in the works for my favorite games of the year. I think this year will be different than others, because there doesn't seem to be a single standout title that I anticipate to win everyone's game of the year awards. The Last of Us pretty much took home every award in every category last year, even “Best Dating Sim.”

Well...probably anyway.

But this year things seem to be a bit more even, and that's refreshing. Variety is the spice of life, they say, and this year I expect game of the year to run the gamut of genres and titles.

On the gaming front, I decided to do a second playthrough of Steamworld Dig. I originally played it on the Vita this past summer. I needed something to play while on a plane, and I had always heard really good things about it. So what did I think? Well, I wound up starting and finishing it on the plane, if that's any indicator. But when I needed something to occupy my time this week, I realized that buying it on the Vita meant I also got the PS4 version, and decided to fire it up again.

It's such a simple game, and yet, so addicting. I wound up going through it in two sittings, and it wasn't until I entered the third world, Vectron, that I realized that I hadn't died yet. During my first time playing, I was dying constantly, even very early on. But I managed to persevere and finished a no-death run, completely unintentionally, although I did have a couple of very close calls.

Going back to previous worlds and unearthing every treasure when you gain new abilities never feels tedious. Once I got that final power-up, I looked forward to going back to the surface just so I could start back at the beginning of the first cave and work my way through again, collecting every orb and gem along the way and reaching new heights and depths that were previously inaccessible.

I was kind of bummed to discover that the sequel to Steamworld Dig is a completely different genre, but I'm not so bummed out that I won't give Image & Form the benefit of the doubt. If you've never played Steamworld Dig and you're reading this blog, you likely have no excuse unless you exclusively play Microsoft consoles, because the game has been ported to everything else, so don't tell me you don't have a machine that can't play it. And if you have a PS4, you really have no excuse as it was one of last month's free PS Plus titles.

Christmas is close, guys. Like, really close, and that makes me very, very happy.

Now let's get to the recaps!

* - Our CBlog Manager, Occams, gives us all an encouraging word on what it takes to get a blog promoted to the front page. I second every point he makes, but of course, you can't get promoted if you don't write. SO GO WRITE SOMETHING AWESOME!

* - Noir Trilby answers the Bloggers Wanted call by talking about why competition is so great for the consumer.

A - Agent9 is right, they do need to bring these gimmicks back. Especially the one about dual karts.

P - The fine folks on the PStoid podcast give us their last episode of the year, give it a listen, won't you?

A - Retrofraction gives us a brief rundown of his history with mechs and why they're so awesome.

A - Life advice from SpielerDad: If you're going to play hooky, explosive diarrhea is the way to go.

F - Friday Night Fights: Super Xbox Core Edition

F - Friday Night Fights: Ultra Playstation Accent X DOSH + Edition

T - How much should co-op come into play when reviewing a co-op/multiplayer game? Riobux has some thoughts.

F - Could there possibly be an animated Mario movie in the works? Cannibal Steven relays some information to us that may be saying yes.

M - The Hoff says happy 15th birthday to OC Remix

No fails again this week for this Friday recapper. You guys are making me so proud.

-TheDustinThomas

FPotD

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