Berlin Trip 008

Something wasn’t quite right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. The controller was fine; over 50 games have fallen to the might of my trusty PS3 gold standard. The TV was massive; we just got a brand new 55-inch Samsung SmartTV, and after negotiating color schemes and brightness, we had come to a mutual understanding that it was a TV and I was the person who decided what it should look like. I was well-fed, not at work and didn’t have to be anywhere in particular anytime soon.

But as I was playing through Tales of Xillia 2, I wasn’t sure why but it felt off. Like some entrée at a restaurant that should taste fine… does taste fine… but… I don’t know, too much salt? Not enough? Are those artichokes? I’ll keep eating, but I prefer satisfaction to a mystery when I’m dining out. READ MORE

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Things have really changed in the games industry in recent years. Originally, you had to delve into the corners and crevices of the hobby to unearth experiences you could enjoy locally with friends. Lately, of course, that’s gotten a lot easier. Exploring the show floor at PAX South, though, it dawned on me that finding those experiences isn’t the problem anymore. They’re everywhere, and in this case that was literal. Now it’s about filtering through to find the best ones. So here are the eight coolest couch-play games I checked out at the show, what they’re like and how (and when) you can play them.

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Graham and Jeremy foster better relations between Japan and the Soviet Union through water in Gorby no Pipeline Daisakusen, a 1991 Famicom puzzle title from Compile. How does a game like this even happen? We don’t know, but we start to get the hang of building pipes across the screen.

New episodes of Gaijin Guide are posted every other Wednesday. Next time, we’ll be swinging for the fences!

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Sentinels of the Multiverse remains one of my favorite games of all-time, but I readily admit that the mechanics can be a bit much at times. Fortunately, my friends and I have decades of playing and judging Magic: the Gathering under our collective belts to help us manage dozens of card effects. If you’ve tried Sentinels and enjoyed the concept but found it too “mathy,” perhaps a more tangible system is for you: enter Sentinel Tactics. READ MORE

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Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is short. There is absolutely no denying that. The implications of its short length, however, are that within 30 minutes of play, you’ll have traded out Gat for Kinzie, learned how to fly, unlocked the ability to summon imps to fight on your side, collected over 50 soul clusters and persuaded Shakespeare to fight on your side against Satan in your quest to save The Boss and keep him from being forcibly wed to Satan’s daughter Jezebel. READ MORE

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Nintendo has begun to release Wii games on the Wii U eShop, starting with Super Mario Galaxy 2 and continuing with at least a few more. These games are identical to the originals, except for ease of access and GamePad emulation of the Classic Controller, if the game supports it. Here are six games we think deserve a second chance on the service, even though they haven’t been announced for any territory. READ MORE

Don’t like sports? Around big events like the Super Bowl, there’s no escaping them, so why not find a way to embrace them? In this update of a piece that originally ran in 2012, we tell you about some games you should check out even if they have sports in them, because you’re missing out on a lot of fun.

NBA Jam: On Fire Edition (360/PS3)

If you’ve ever played an NBA Jam game, be it the arcade/16-bit originals or the recent remakes, you know what I do: that it’s much less of a sports game, and much more of a sports-themed multiplayer brawler. The newest version smooths the rough edges, looks slick and has a bunch of fun teams to play. Want to go around as Santa Claus, shoving Isaac Clarke and a raptor while an announcer rattles off silly-but-somehow-still-satisfying one-liners? That’s in a game now. — Graham Russell READ MORE

It’s Snack Time’s inaugural episode of 2015! Graham, Andrew and Ryan check out the party-building, whimsical RPG antics of multiplatform release Citizens of Earth.

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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Citizens of Earth feels like a tribute to the SNES classic (and tragically underplayed) Earthbound. I am a huge fan of that game for its irreverence, setting and gameplay, and Citizens of Earth takes liberally from its best elements. It’s genuinely funny and strategically deeper than it first appears, while leveraging its characters and setting well. Its attempts to reclaim the magic of its source material are largely successful, but most of all, it’s just a lot of fun to play. READ MORE

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The original Blackguards had some problems, but the combat system wasn’t one of them. Blackguards 2 retains the same deep, satisfying hex-based combat as its predecessor, and layered on top of that combat is the story of Cassia of Tenos, a noblewoman betrayed by her husband and wrongfully imprisoned. She needs to escape, raise an army and reclaim her kingdom. READ MORE