I’ve had almost zero time to play video games over the last week. And of the time I’ve actually had to play games in the last few weeks, I’ve played 5 different genres:

  1. Roguelikes (OlliOlli and Spelunky)
  2. Action/adventure (Assassin’s Creed 4: Blag Flag, The Last of Us)
  3. Simulation/tycoon (Game Dev Tycoon)
  4. Puzzle/word (Still playing Letterpress!)
  5. Card (Hearthstone)

If you would have asked me 5 or 6 years ago what games I’ve been playing, I guarantee you wouldn’t find a list this diverse. What kind of games have you expanded to in recent years? Do you think it’s a function of your changing tastes? Or maybe it’s the ever-growing and changing industry that’s responsible?

Friday, 4:11 pm – Albert

I’m really looking forward to this one!

Thursday, 3:15 pm – matt

I tried the latest PS4 gifted game through the PS+ program, OUTLAST, a single player horror survival game that’s actually pretty decent. You play as a journalist investigating an insane asylum that has some shady characters in charge, using the inmates for a bizarre program that has turned them all into fleshless ghouls.

also the only The Last of Us DLC comes out today, a prequel focused on Ellie and her friend that eventually becomes an infected (and looks a little too similar to a character found in the game, but we’ll have to find out if there’s a connection or not), so im sure Albert will be interested in that coming out.

Tuesday, 1:55 pm – Ricky

Mark of the Ninja is one of those games I played for a while and just kind of … left behind… It was a great game, and I may come back to it, but I won’t be too fussed if I never do. It was a fun little game, and I love Klei (they also made Shank and Don’t Starve), so I’ll be sure to keep an eye on whatever comes next.

A few things out today: Lots of previews of this game called Evolve. It’s being created by Turtle Rock Studios, creators of Left 4 Dead and a bunch of other Valve stuff. The co-op nature of L4D can be seen in the game, and I can’t wait for it. There are 4 classes of “hunters”, and a monster that is also a player-character. The environment is seeded with AI monsters, too, which can be killed by the hunters, or feasted on by the monster to help them evolve and get more powerful. Check out a gameplay video below.

Also out today, all of the Steam Dev Days videos and presentations were made public by Valve. If you have an interest in the business and development side of games, check these out.

Monday, 12:52pm – Gavin

Looking through my Steam account and at my console gaming shelf, things seem to be more or less where I left them five years ago.  In fact, probably not too far off from ten years ago.  Ten years ago, I was still playing Mario, Zelda, and Metroid.  I was all up on Splinter Cell, I was balls-deep in Deus Ex, Half-Life, and the various and sundry RPGs of my time, like Fable or Jade Empire.  Since then, I’ve expanded a bit more into the adventure genre by way of games like The Walking Dead, I’ve picked up on low-profile platformers like Mark of the Ninja (yes, it’s more stealth-action than platform, but go with it), VVVVVV and NightSky, and I’ve picked up on story-heavy games like Spec Ops: The Line, Gone Home, and Dear Esther.  I’m getting less and less inclined to play the modern military shooter, as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 felt like a rehash of the excellent Modern Warfare 1, and COD Ghosts was just a disaster.

I too have had limited gaming time, but I maximized what I had.  Keeping in line with my 2014 challenge, I played and beat Mark of the Ninja.  It was a highly enjoyable and thoughtful puzzle platformer, but I’m not prepared to rave over it as much as others did.  Traversing the environment is extremely satisfying, and it’s great fun watching a trap that you set get activated by a thoughtless enemy, but I found that it wore out its welcome.  I beat it in about 8 hours, but it could have been an hour shorter – there isn’t enough variety in the gameplay and in the levels you’re playing.  There is a great degree of customization to the game in terms of skill trees and items, but I never felt the desire to actually use them.  It was much more fun to just avoid the enemies, or take them out using the basics.  You have a plethora nonlethal attacks, but using them only incapacitates the enemy for a short period of time.  You still need to kill them, or else the alarms go off and you lose points.  If you find yourself in a position where you need to use a nonlethal attack, you probably screwed up somewhere along the way.

The game did prove, however, that stealth in 2D can still be extremely engaging.  The art style and visual presentation of the game is positively fabulous, and the way the game uses the “fog of fighting” as a gameplay mechanic is terrific.  I highly recommend it – it’s frequently on sale for $3.75 and you could do an awful lot worse than a game whose worst fault is that it’s too long.

Monday, 8:07 am – Ricky

Yep, you read that right. I’ve played maybe an hour of Hearthstone, Blizzard’s free-to-play card game. Having only ever played physical card games like Dominion or 7 Wonders, I’m pretty new to this whole “Magic: The Gathering”-style attack card game, and I’m certainly new to play it on my PC.

The tutorial that they put you through is pretty good at explaining the basics of the gaming. It puts you through 6 training missions, with 5 of them introducing new mechanics at each go, and the final battle acting as your exit exam. After each battle, you earn points that will unlock new cards, which you can then use to build and customize different types of 30-card decks. There’s also a card crafting mechanic, where you can breakdown unwanted cards and craft new ones. Of course, you could also buy packets of cards and see what surprises you unwrap! Yes, it’s trying to fee off of the hockey-card-collecting 10 year old in all us. No, I haven’t succumbed yet.

I’m definitely going to try some more of the game – the best part is, it takes maybe 10 to 15 minutes to play through one round, which is the perfect bite-size chunk of gaming for my current schedule. Unfortunately, it’s only on PC and Mac right now, but it is slated for iOS and Android later this year.

Btw, cover image this week is from a 2011 Wichita State University study. Does it look like it still applies today?