It feels like most of North America just kind of “shuts down” at this time of year. Regardless of your religious beliefs, Christmas is what’s celebrated on this side of the world, and that means shops shutting down, businesses giving time off, and people taking vacations. Most of the crew is off this week, some visiting family, some just hanging out, some a mix of both. We’ll pop in every so often, likely to comment on the on-going Steam sale or our Boxing Day haul.*

*Note to Americans: It’s like your Black Friday, except it’s the day after Christmas. The more you know, because knowledge is power!

Saturday, 8:23 am – Ricky

It’s Saturday! I think… No, it is! I think…

During the holidays, the days do start to blur together a bit. As long as you enjoy them and figure out which day you’re supposed to go back to work, you should be fine. I’ve had only a little bit of a chance to dabble in games this holiday season, and as the Challenge approaches, I’ve also accumulated a bunch more games to get to in 2013.

I picked up Sleeping Dogs and decided to give that a run through yesterday. “I’ll just try it for 5 minutes” – 2 hours later, I was still blasting around the streets of Tokyo, stopping every time I saw a glowing box, or red dots that indicate bad guys are near. I love the world, the gameplay is fun, and there’s a story in there somewhere.

I also finally booted up The Walking Dead with my fiancée. We played through the opening hour of Episode 1, and I think I have her hooked. There were a couple moments where we couldn’t come to a decision on what to say quick enough, and the timer ran out. Nothing of consequence happened, but we can already see how closely we must pay attention and choose our words.

Other things I’ve picked up or been gifted:

  • Natural Selection 2 – the crew will be playing this one
  • Torchlight 2 – and this one, too
  • Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine
  • Hotline Miami – a generous gift!
  • Dark Souls – Albert knows I like to be punished
  • Borderlands 2 Season Pass – Going to get into this at some point with Preezie I would think
  • Dishonored – a gracious gift ninja-delivered by Gavin
  • Darksiders 2 – I’ve been itching to play the 1st, now I also have the 2nd

It’s been a pretty good sale for me, and I’ll still be able to participate until Monday! Then the Challenge begins!

Thursday, 6:11 pm – Albert

Hello commentators of the gaming world! It is I, Albert, back again. I too have been busy and have been in transition so my access to PCs capable of running wordpress have been limited. That being said, I share similarities with Gavin as I have mainly been able to play mobile games. Recently, I’ve played The Sushi Spinnery (Kairosoft), Venture Towns (Kairosoft), Middle Manager of Justice (Double Fine), and Angry Birds Star Wars (Rovio). While I’ve only played three levels of Angry Birds Star Wars, i’ve played hours of the other games and they are quite adequate of sucking up massive amounts of time. Everyone knows I love Kairosoft, so it’s not surprise that I love all their games. If you’re looking for something similar to Oh! Edo Town – then Venture Towns is close, but if you’re looking for a unique Kairosoft experience, my bet would be to go with The Sushi Spinnery. Ricky already mentioned Middle Manager of Justice and it’s premise and it’s what motivated me to take a look. It’s a VERY addictive but short game. While I have not completely beaten it, my manager and heroes are fully leveled and my base is almost fulled leveled as well which have left me lacking motivation to keep going. Perhaps i’ll wait for it to come out for Android and i’ll play it again.

I’ve been missing most of the Winter Steam Sale, but i’m back on it now! I’ve had many generous gamey-gifts given to me and it’s been quite the season! While i’m not participating in the Backlog challenge, i’ll be sure to try and play my backlog as well, but also try my hardest to just SUPER enjoy the new games that are coming in next year for both Ricky and I. There are many games that are worth purchasing sooner rather than later. I know that i’ll be getting into sport franchises as I always love playing a new EA Sports game with the current roster especially while the season is upon me. FIFA 14, Madden 14, and NHL 14 are a must buy for me next year.

There is also: Might & Magic Heroes VI: Shades of Darkness, SimCity, Tomb Raider, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, BioShock Infinite, Dead Island: Riptide,  The Last of Us, Battlefield , Command & Conquer, Company of Heroes 2, Grand Theft Auto V, Star Wars 1313, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow 6: Patriots, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and Watch Dogs. Also, keep in mind that DLC for this years games will be coming out. I’m most excited to see what expansions come out for XCOM: Enemy Unknown. And I might even get back into Skyrim…

So while this year was great in the gaming category, the beauty of the industry is that there is always something else to play. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope everyone had a great Christmas! Get ready for another year of gaming goodness!

Wednedsay, 9:39 pm – Gavin

Well, I’ve been out of touch for a while as I’ve been very, very busy with work and on the road as well.  I’m checking in from several hours away from home.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had much ability to play games beyond Freecell on my phone.  Whoopee.  Sorry for not gracing you with my digital presence.

The Steam Sale is still on, but I’ve mostly been quiet on that front.  I didn’t actually pick anything up for myself.  I gifted copies of Dishonored, Max Payne 3 and Hotline: Miami, and received copies of Torchlight 2, the Mass Effect collection, Natural Selection 2, and three copies of Batman: Arkham City as I was out all day when it was on sale, and numerous generous friends picked it up for me at the same time.  Thanks, dudes.

In the weeks leading up to this, I was also gifted Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Puddle, and the THQ Humble Bundle.  I am literally swimming in complimentary games, and it’s a bit daunting – I still have some massive AAA titles from 2011 and 2012 to hit up, and I’m still not done playing around with Just Cause 2 and the Half Life 2 episodes.  Truly I am spoiled for choice.

The end of an era befell me back on my birthday – I let my Xbox Live membership die.  I’ll miss the HD-quality Netflix, but the Wii’s Netflix interface is SO much nicer that it’s a great trade-off.  My 360 was hard-wired though, while the Wii is wireless, which is always slower in my house.  I wasn’t playing anything online anymore, so it just seemed like a waste of $5 a month.  I’ll still play offline – I enjoy the Gears trilogy, and Fable 2 is eminently replayable.  I’m pretty much just transitioning away from it, though.  The laptop has just too much good stuff on it, and while I’m just about done with Modern Warfare 2 on the 360, I have Spec Ops: The Line waiting for me to purge that memory.  Too much video game choice – truly the first worldiest of the first world problems.

Monday, 10:13 am – Ricky

Update: I didn’t win. Fantasy football sucks.

Monday, 4:00 am – Ricky

I’m not going to lie: This was set to auto-publish at this time. I’m probably still out celebrating my fantasy football championship win.