Rain

I recently picked this up during the PSN supersale (I think it was around $3) and I’m glad I did. I think it got mixed reviews when it originally came out, but so far I’m really digging the atmosphere, and the look of the game. It’s a neat idea too, that you’re only visible when rain is falling on you, and I like how the levels play with that. 

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I haven’t read the books, but had a pretty good time watching the first firlm. For this one, I was at first a bit lost with was going on – didn’t get why they weren’t being very friendly to each other – but I slowly started getting into it again, although the ending is definitely not satisfying at all. I know it’s the second part of a trilogy (and in fact 4 movies), but it just feels like this entire movie is setting up what is about to start as it ends. Oh well, I guess that’s how they get us to watch the next one.

Electronic Fun with Magazines

I sure miss video game magazines from the 80s.

I was reminded of this when I watched the short that was released today by Area 5, in order to tease and help promote the Kickstarter campaign for Outerlands, a 6-episode documentary series covering video game culture.

It’s something you should be backing.

In the short, we visit the home of Frank Cifaldi, and we are introduced to his — in his words — complete collection of 80s video game magazines. He starts flipping through the very first issue ofElectronic Games, an issue I remember reading.

I loved those magazines.

My favorites were Electronic Games and also Electronic Fun with Computer and Games. I read tons more, but those are the two that stick in my mind. I probably had most of the runs back in the day, but I ended up getting rid of all my magazines — I used to keep everything, including a full run of Wired, from the first issue — when I moved to Japan.

Yes, I did that.

In recent years I have been turning into someone who is gradually trying to get rid of physical stuff, as I learn to appreciate accessing everything in digital form. When it comes to stuff like these old magazines, it has been great to find online scans — here is the complete run of Electronic Fun (all 17 issues).

But seeing Frank flip through that issue of Electronic Games resulted in a nostalgic mindwarp that really had me wishing I still had that original collection.

I do thank Area 5, and Frank Cifaldi, for reminding me just how great it’s been growing up in sync with the world of video games.

The Banner Saga

I was a backer of this, so got my copy last week, but only got around to playing it tonight. Wow, what a great game. It of course looks gorgeous – even better then I thought it would – but I’m also really digging the turn-based battles. I’ve only played about an hour and a half so far, but I can already see how it’s going to be interesting to find the right balance of characters and positioning on the battlefield. The story so far is pretty good too, and well told. It really is a fantastic time to be playing games these days.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

I was very much looking forward to playing this, and how great is it that it’s actually free right now if you’re a PS+ member. I first sat down with the plan to just start the game and get a feel for it, and two hours later I was still playing. I love everything about this game, from the lovely surroundings to the camaraderie that you feel coming from the two brothers to the weird controls – the idea is that you control both brothers simultaneously, using one analog stick for each. This not only creates an interesting dynamic, the clumsiness that ensues actually makes sense in the context of what is happening in the game (these 2 brothers traipsing along on their quest). This is absolutely one of my favorite games to have come out in 2013, and so I’m adding it to my big “Favorite Media of 2013” post – I’m replacing The Last of Us in my top 5 with it.

Tales of Xillia

This is another game I grabbed in this week’s PSN sale, and it’s definitely scratching that JRPG itch I get every once in while. I’ve only played about an hour, so it’s of course too early to tell how much I’ll like this, but so far I’m certainly enjoying the beautiful visuals – some of the best cel-shading I’ve ever seen in a game. The battle system is pretty fun too – basically, what you expect from a Tales game. We’ll see how long I last.

Puppeteer

I grabbed this on the crazy PSN sale this week (until tomorrow), and wow, this really is something special. I’m just astounded by the fantastic art direction, and how everything comes together in presenting something so original and unlike anything else out there. Yeah, it’s a platformer, but it ends up feeling like so much more thanks to the narration, great character designs, and fun mechanics – you often use giant scissors to cut your way through a level. You really need to grab this while it’s still on sale.

Broken Age

I don’t know where to start in describing how much I love this game. From the amazing visuals – this could be an animated film I’d love to watch (but it’s even better that I can interact with it) – to the sounds, to the music, to the voices… I’m having a blast playing through it, and really want Double Fine to keep making games like this. Just goes to show that you can still make really great point-and-click adventure games.

Joe Danger Infinity

I’ve been a big fan of all the Joe Danger games, both on console and on iOS – last year’s Joe Danger Touch was one of my favorite iOS games of the year – and I’m so happy to be having just as much fun with the new Joe Danger Infinity (iOS). It’s so damn addictive, you just keep going and going, continuously getting more stars to unlock new stages, over and over… It’s no secret that the developer, Hello Games, had some rough holidays with its studio flooding, and the best way to help them right now is to buy their games, which you should do anyway.