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There is a constant struggle I face whenever I sit down to play a game. It gnaws at me, and sometimes even paralyzes me into a mental state in which I’m unable to play anything. I constantly fight the battle in my head: do I want to play something from my current backlog of games or spend more time in a persistent game world? The current games battling for my attention are Final Fantasy XIV and Hearthstone, but with a recent upswing in my time playing Heroes of the Storm (recently released into open beta), my problem just keeps getting worse. READ MORE

In this episode of Snack Time, Ryan puts his piloting skills to use in service of the Empire in Star Wars: TIE Fighter, which was recently re-released on modern PC distribution platforms. Graham and Andrew join to talk about flight games, Star Wars etiquette, the virtues of Kyle Katarn and more!

New episodes of Snack Time post every two weeks. You can check out the Snack Time archive for some great shows you may have missed!

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One of the biggest mistakes a console maker can make is putting a technological gimmick before the hardware itself. The dawn of optical media was a perilous point in games hardware history, with several platform creators rushing to take advantage of the new technology before the big players  Nintendo and Sega  could do it first. One such competitor, Pioneer, attempted to leverage an obscure medium while piggybacking on its more successful competitors to secure victory, but never obtained any compelling software. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: Software trumps hardware every time. The Pioneer LaserActive learned this the hard way. READ MORE

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Remember that scene in The Simpsons when they’re all in the car and reflecting upon Homer’s decision to stop his career as a Cannonball Thingy Guy? They start talking about what’s cool and what isn’t. The children are decidedly unimpressed with their parents’ insistence that they know what “cool” is. It’s a hilarious ending to classic episode, and all the more fitting that it’s featured in a storyline looking back at counterculture and youths’ shaky affirmation that the older generations don’t know what they’re talking about. READ MORE

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Why Am I Dead At Sea is a full-release follow up to the small-but-popular flash game Why Am I Dead. This game, like its predecessor, places you in the role of the spirit of someone recently dead. Your task is to possess others and use different abilities to investigate and deduce the answer to the game’s titular question: “why am I dead?” Why Am I Dead At Sea takes place entirely on a cruise ship with a diverse cast of nine characters, and while it is a little rough around the edges, the adventure has enough twists to continually pull the player forward in the quest for answers. READ MORE

In this episode, Graham guides Jeremy through the water-filled world of Densetsu no Starfy 2, the second game in the Legendary Starfy series. Though only the fifth and final game made it to the West, all of them are easy enough to jump in and play, and friendly in both mechanics and visuals! Maybe give one a try?

New episodes of Gaijin Guide are posted every other Wednesday.

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Ghostbusters was a landmark in the pop culture development of my generation, and it still resonates today. News of an all-female cast version of the movie sent shockwaves through the internet, and a Cryptozoic Kickstarter campaign for an official board game crushed its $250,000 goal. As much as I love Ghostbusters, I did not back that campaign, mostly due to the fact that I had already played 2013 Iello Games release The Phantom Society and didn’t see the need. READ MORE

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Invisible, Inc. is a perfect storm of a game. The tactical grid-based gameplay has a lot of depth and allows for a ton of strategic decisions, the spy-vs.-spy aesthetic transports you to a world of espionage and the roguelike randomness keeps you coming back over and over again to achieve that elusive “perfect” run. Every action has weight, and one wrong move can doom an entire mission. With numerous difficulty sliders to tune the experience, though, Invisible, Inc. is also an extremely accessible title that succeeds in training the player to tackle its more difficult challenges gradually without being frustrating. READ MORE

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Wolfenstein: The New Order was refreshingly nostalgic. Everything looked amazing but acted like a classic shooter. It was up to me to pick up health packs and ammo, and I could carry every gun I found. There was absolutely no gray area: B.J. is the good guy, Nazis are the bad guys and you have to kill every one of them to win. Layered atop that were characters that I cared about and weapons that were all a joy to use. There’s nothing quite like swapping over to a double-barreled shotgun and laying waste to a room of pure, concentrated evil. The Old Blood falls short of its big brother in its characters and story, but the mechanics are sound and I had fun all the way through. READ MORE

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There has been a bit of a renaissance in American animation lately: shows are being aired that take more chances and explore more complex themes and characters. As with every new generation of talent, these shows are being made by people who seek to fix a lot of the problems they saw in their shows growing up, both in the shows themselves and the things surrounding them. READ MORE