It’s not tough to succumb to nostalgia. We all have things from our childhood that trigger warm and fuzzy feelings: maybe it’s a Commodore 64 or a Goodboy, or maybe it’s a favorite game from a system long since forgotten. 

Or maybe it’s a comic book/TV Show-turned-movie-turned-multiple-video games about giant robots beating the crap out of each other. I was a huge Transformers fan growing up – there are more than a few home videos floating around of me signing the (slightly ad libbed) version of the cartoon. I have my Transformers toys action figures in a box at my parents place. I even have the first season of the TV series on DVD. So, it is without surprise that I am eagerly anticipating Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, set to release this week.

What else are we up to? We executed the Dear Esther Protocol (mostly) successfully, and there’s audio to prove it. We’re all gaming some different things this week, so stay tuned for a stream of consciousness that’s bound to excite and ensnare many a mind.

Friday, 2:07 pm – Ricky

Hmm, what could it mean… More than meets the eye!

Thursday, 12:28 pm – Albert

Toronto is a huge hub for gaming! I love going to the FanExpo. I went two years ago and had a blast. I think I watched a robot R2D2 for 30 minutes… that was one of the highlights.

Speaking of which, I went to Games with Friends #16 at Bento Miso, which allows indie web and game makers to rent space and collaborate with other like-minded people. They throw events all the time and are super informative and really friendly. I had a chance to speak with 2/3 founders Henry and Jennie Faber. Really amazing people. The Games with Friends event had a huge screen where people can demo games that they are working on, there were board games being played, and just a bunch of people coming together for the love of games. Check out some of the events and I wrote a post about them on GameConnect.

Besides that, I’ve been playing Supreme Commander 2. I played the original SC and I thought it was fun, but SC2 is much more refined and a whole lot of fun. Compared to Company of Heroes (which is AMAZING) it is surprisingly more complex and requires quite a bit of micro and macro management. The scale of the amount of units is MUCH larger than any other RTS game i’ve played. Around 600 units on each side is the unit cap. By land, sea, and air! There are nukes, artillery as well. If anyone is interested, i’ll be playing it 🙂

Diablo 3’s new update with Paragon levels was pretty elite, and I felt like my weak Wizard held its own a TINY bit more. I only played a little bit with Ricky (more to come is pending) before playing some Fifa Street with Preezie and Ricky. I’m only going to say one thing, Fifa Street does not make playing with your Team easy. There are like 8 people in the entire world that play that game multiplayer apparently. I don’t play many public games, and when I do, I realise that there are still GIGANTIC douchebags out there. But enough about that.

Ricky has been giving me all sort of tips recently. “Use Chrome” “Do this”… and to be honest, he’s right. It’s weird! But something game related that he told me was to back Castle Story. Guys. I don’t really do kickstarter. It’s not that I don’t believe in it, but it’s just that I haven’t really ever gone on there and researched things to back. But take it from me, PLEASE PLEASE see these videos I’m going to post below. Ricky’s convinced me and let me convince you. Ricky and I are in.

ARE YOU?!

Trailer

First Demo

Thursday, 10:58 am – Gavin

Speaking of gaming-related events going on in Toronto, this weekend is FanExpo!  Obviously it’s a huge convention not solely dedicated to gaming, but there is a gaming section, both video and board/manual.  There is a pile of video game-related guests and hosts, many panels, opportunities to play unreleased demos, and LG is sponsoring a gaming tournament.  I encourage you to check it out here.

Otherwise, not much else going on for the rest of the week for me.  I’m stuck grinding a pile of characters in Final Fantasy 3 that are woefully underleveled and are missing out on several key spells, before I charge the Fanatics’ Tower.  I know that MagiMaster awaits, and that’s always a brutal fight, especially if you’re like me and you don’t remember how to beat him and you’re too stubborn to look it up in the guide.  I have an evening of Deus Ex planned for the weekend, as I try to bust out of MJ12 headquarters.  It’s a great level, but it did fall into one of the boring tropes of video games – “you’ve been captured!  Now run around and reclaim all of your equipment before you can proceed!”.  It’s tense and hard, but as soon as you get your stuff back, you’re basically a walking tank, at least in that part.

I might try and get some natural daylight onto my pasty white skin this weekend.  If you don’t hear from me, please send an ambulance.

Thursday, 8:41 am – Ricky

Speaking of enjoying things, I played some more Diablo 3 yesterday! I definitely have the itch again: In my 1 hour of play, I found 18 rare items and 1 legendary shield. Granted, the stats on the items weren’t super impressive, but coupled with the fact that I filled my Paragon progress bar, I really enjoyed the experience. Champions were tough, but not too tough, and repair costs were minimal so I stepped away with net earnings.

I think I’m going to go back and level my Barbarian up when I’m on my own, and save my level 60 Demon Hunter for when I can convince and coerce others to play with me.

I’m not foreseeing a ton of gaming time the rest of the week, but hopefully I can pick up Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and dig into it a little bit. The reviews are coming in, and they’re pretty good so far! And don’t forget: If you’re in the Toronto area, next Wednesday is GameConnect! Grab your tickets while you can! Gamentary will be there causing a ruckus having fun and meeting cool people.

Tuesday, 10:43 am – Gavin

I knew that there was minimal interaction with Dear Esther, but I admit that I did expect more, at least something other than just walking.  The biggest problem, as the guys will attest to, is that playing it on the big screen, I had problems with motion sickness, 4 realz.  The zoom function was a little too “drunk zoom” for me, and I think that hurt.  I probably missed out on some key dialogue and narrative elements while searching the house for Gravol.

All in all, I enjoyed it.  It was the best game I ever read/best book I’ve ever played.  I enjoyed discussing it with the guys as we played it, but I also would have appreciated it solo.  We finished the game in 72 minutes, and after reading some reviews post-game, I see that dialogue is opened up when you revisit old areas.  I intend on playing it again once I’ve had some time to digest it all, and I’ll do a thorough scouring of the island.  After reading some reviews, I realized there were a few things I missed which would have affected my interpretation.  I look forward to “playing” it again.

I do have a hard time calling it a game, if only because there is no task, no adversity, no puzzle, etc.  It’s a story told in a medium that allows for the creation of atmosphere and environment.  I appreciated it, but I wonder if the appeal will wear off in future games like that.  I’m interested to see what thechineseroom does with Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, to see if they make it a bit more interactive.  Dear Esther was highly enjoyable, and I’m very glad I experienced it, but I’m not convinced that I would love another game identical in style to that.  I think it’s also a game that depends very heavily on your mood.  You need to be in a contemplative mood to really get the most out of the game.  You also need to know nothing at all about it.  I knew a little about it, and I think that affected my enjoyment slightly.

Tuesday, 8:09 am – Ricky

Very cool write-up on X-COM multiplayer. Count me in, though I’m in the same boat as Alexander Sliwinski: I’ve never played an X-COM before. I like the idea of multiplayer turn-based RTS combat – I think it’s what drew me to Frozen Synapse when it first came out.

To that end, I should probably look to play an X-COM game before the new one comes out. I’m throwing this out there right now: That won’t happen. New X-COM drops on October 9th, and I’m in the midst of playing both Crusader Kings 2 and Orcs Must Die! (the first one). Plus, there’s:

Today: Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

August 28: Madden NFL 13

September 18: Borderlands 2 (you bastards are all getting this with me)

September 25: LittleBigPlanet Vita

All this before X-COM even comes out. My wallet is gonna cry.

To touch on Dear Esther one last time, and further my comments from the pod we cast after the playthrough, I enjoyed the game. I don’t think I would have played it by myself, but it was worth experiencing with others. It allowed us to think a quickly and critically about the story, environment, gameplay etc. rather than experiencing it separately, then coming together to discuss it. We’ll definitely need to do it again some time, maybe for the new Amnesia expansion.

Monday, 1:44 pm – Albert

Strap me in (Strap me on?) for more Diablo 3 lovin’ once they extend the life of it! It sounds like a lot of fun and I hope I can get back into it. The Paragon levelling sounds great… i’m a sucker for grinding… and for grinding levels in RPGS.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron looks like an interesting game! The visual aspects are stunning and the gameplay looks fun. The customization of guns look really impressive.  I wasn’t really a Transformers kid growing up but I can appreciate the nostalgia.

Speaking of nostalgia, I was reading about the multiplayer aspect of X-COM on Joystiq. You guys have to read this little back and forth, it is getting me really excited! 2 more months!

Besides that, an amazing Dear Esther Protocol success at the expense of Gavin’s generous loan of homestead. I think I went into the Dear Esther session the most prepared for what we were going to experience. Because of that, I knew that gameplay was at a minimal and that it was more story and atmospheric. As a movie, it was interesting and the visuals were great. I did enjoy the dialogue and the strange ending. However, as a game, I just don’t think I would have played it without the Gamentary crew around. That’s just me. What did you guys think?

Monday, 12:39 pm – Ricky

In case you didn’t know, Diablo 3 needs some fixin’. Luckily, the Blizzard guys know a thing or two about the game, and are looking to make some major changes with patch 1.04, rumored to hit by the end of the month.

One of the most interesting features added in the upcoming patch is Paragon levels. When you hit level 60, that’s it for you. You no longer get to stare at the little experience bar as it fills up, you’re at the max level. You do get to take part in Nephalem Valor (a reward for killing bigger baddies), but you lose some of that sense of character progression. The Paragon system will introduce a new set of 100 levels – here’s how it works (from Blizzard):

Here’s how it works:

  • After you hit level 60, any further experience you earn from killing monsters will begin to count toward Paragon levels
  • Every Paragon level will reward you with:
    • Core stats such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality in amounts similar to what you’d gain from a normal level
    • 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find
  • In addition, a distinctive increasingly-impressive border will surround your character portrait in the in-game party frame to denote your Paragon progression, with a new frame earned after every ten levels. Your Paragon level will also be visible to other players wherever your normal level is shown

I’m all on board for this patch, and I’m hoping it brings the crew back to the game!

Monday, 8:14 am – Ricky

Want to get excited about the game with me? Check out this Giant Bomb Quick Look – Grimlock guaranteed!

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