AR Diary: November

AJ reckons

I will stone you, stone you

The last few months have been all about co-op. It is very much my favourite way to play any game. Going through Halo 5: Guardians and talking shit the whole time has been a simple pleasure. The game itself is tight and the changes the developers have made are a suitable corrective to Halo 4‘s failure to bring significant improvements to the play style. Levels are bigger, wider and more varied in terms of what you do and how the level looks.

Shaun will be happy to know that there are mechs.

I dabbled with F2P a few months back and I haven’t really stuck with any of the games from that time. Instead I have turned to a new one: Gems of War. It’s a Match-3 game made by the creators of Puzzle Quest so follows that same template. The spin here is that you have a group of four characters with different skills and different coloured gems that they require to unleash these skills. Balancing your team with bruisers, healers and long ranged attackers gives the game enough depth to keep things interesting. There is also an asynchronous multiplayer feature allowing you to invade other players’ games where their teams are controlled by competent AI.

My partner is completely addicted to it and we regularly sit during the evening and hot seat as she plays, suggesting strategies and vice versa. There are rumours of a Windows 10 version with cross platform play – I imagine that would ruin her life forever.

If you are interested then check out the official site.

Tom Haverford

This isn’t game related, but it does have Street Fighter in it: Master of None.

To think that at one point I couldn’t stand Aziz Ansari is unfathomable to me now. His stand-up has been consistently good as well as insightful. This show is an extension of that comedy and his personality.

In Master of None Aziz plays Dev, an aspiring actor in New York. The show is less focused on producing punch line after punch line (unlike his last big role in Parks and Recreation) and instead is quietly funny, built around the philosophical observations of a “brown” and single man in America. The standout episode for me so far sees Dev travel to Nashville with a woman played by Noel Wells. The chemistry between them is fantastic and the escalating dialogue feels natural and charming.

Bringing in the Year

Unless Shaun has something planned we are unlikely to be doing a mega-podcast at the end of this year.

I do plan on trying to release an article on my favourite games of the year but rather than focus on only the things that came out this year I might have a little fun… again.


 

Shaun

I can confirm that there is no end of year blowout podcast planned at my end either, since AJ has our only recording device and he’s in the wrong country. Still, at least you, our dear loyal readers, will not have to put up with us drunkenly cackling and thumping the table as events descend into chaos.

November is always a weird month for me because it features my birthday, and it’s when the British climate tends to get really, really shit. We have been treated quite gently this year on the latter point, although despite mild temperatures it’s still been ghastly enough to make me want to stay inside. This has worked out well, however, because for my birthday I treated myself to, er, a week off to play Fallout 4.

My official verdict on Fallout 4: I really, really like it. I still don’t care for Skyrim, so once I’ve finished with this staggeringly immense game I will be putting some serious thought into what really distinguishes Bethesda’s two flagship series, and what all this really means about my habits of play.

I also jetted over to Berlin for a weekend this past month – probably the best birthday gift anyone has ever given me, thank you C – which included a trip to the Computerspielemuseum. I’d recommend this to anyone with an interest in the history of gaming. I was genuinely pleased to discover some nuggets of information that were new to me, and it was a pleasure to be able to see – and even play – some pieces of gaming history that were entirely new to me. This included the only arcade cabinet ever produced for the German Democratic Republic, which was… well, it felt historic, and it made me feel bad for how isolated its creators were from, uh, game design.

I hope to write a longer piece on the Computerspielemuseum at some point, alongside some of the photos I took. This may include footage of me playing Pacman with a man-sized joystick (this is not a penis joke). So, there’s something you can look forward to, eh?