Tag Archives: Mobile Gaming

Hearthstone Road Trip: Destination Witchwood

Introduction

It’s that time of year again. Blizzard has released a new expansion for Hearthstone. I did a quick preview of the set about a month ago when it was announced. Before that, I wrote a bit about the new things that we could expect with the new season. You don’t have to read either of those to understand what’s going on in this article, but it would be great if you did!

One of the rumors about the new set was that it would take place in Duskwood. I said at the time that I didn’t exactly get a Duskwood vibe from the design of the set teaser and that has proven true. However, I do give you some credit, internet. You did get the woods part right. Just the wrong bunch of trees. Also, whoever first posited that the “Year of the Raven” was going to involve dark and spooky themes, I say “Kudos to you!”

And a hearty high five on top!

I already talked about the new mechanics in my previous article. Echo is fun, but so far I don’t think there’s anything that is truly broken (yet, more on that later). Rush is much preferred to charge as that mechanic will hopefully become Wild only over time. Granted, there are classic cards with charge on them, but good old Blizzard could just send them to the Hall of Fame or easily change the wording on the cards. Even and Odd decks are cute and I think there might be something to Odd quest warrior. In addition, odd paladin makes that class even more annoying to play against. But, that’s not really our thing here, so on to what we do best. Playing games and having fun.

The Cards

Neutral

This isn’t necessarily a keyword, so it wasn’t covered in the preview. It also came as a bit of a surprise when I saw it as I hadn’t been watching the spoilers for this set very closely. But, I like the mechanic of this card. It isn’t the only one that swaps attack and health each turn that it is in your hand. It is just the one that I have seen used and used myself most effectively. It’s relatively cheap and can remove big stuff right away if it is in 6/2 mode. All in all, an interesting addition to the game.

Honorable Mention

A 3-mana removal spell in this meta? Only bad thing is that if you aren’t able to target it (with hero power or other cheap spell), the opponent can silence it. Still, playing it just to frustrate your opponent and make them check the history to see what was just played against them makes it all worth it.

Druid

Naturally, this card makes me think of Twilight Drake. For one more mana, it has taunt. Both of those points are relevant. As soon as I saw this card and a few of the other new cards, I started thinking about a druid odd taunt deck. I’ve heard rumblings about such a deck existing, but I have no idea if it is actually any good. Then again, I’ve never cared too much about winning. I just want to have fun with the game.

Honorable Mention

She’s five mana and can be played in my Odd Taunt Druid deck that I’m trying to make happen. Also, and this isn’t relevant to that deck. But,A� if you can get her to stick, you could play Ultimate Infestation, then Kun, and then another Ultimate Infestation all in one turn. I don’t know how practical that is, but it sure would be fun to watch.

Hunter

This is the kind of card that I love. On first look, it looks great. Upon further inspection, it looks pretty terrible. Upon even further inspection, it settles into a decent situational card. You can use it to make an army of 4/4 minions with rush or even charge. You can use it to attempt to blow your opponent out of the water with a whole bunch of 9/8 lions that leave 2/2 hyenas in their wake (if they ever die). It’s just a potentially wacky card.

Honorable Mention

I know what you’re thinking. That’s a terrible card. And you’re right. It is an awful card. But, look at that! A 6/6 rat?! That thing’s huge!

Mage

I am bit biased towards this card because it is the gift legendary that I’ve gotten on two of my accounts so far. Moreover, I’ve been able to play it a few times. Once I got Aya Blackpaw and another time I got Stalagg (or was it Fuegen?). Stay tuned for more! I could steal this card with Rogue, play it, Shadowstep it, play it again, and get both of them for the meme Thaddius dream.

Honorable Mention

Similar to a few other cards on the list, this one invokes feelings of another card. It’s a slightly worse improvement on arcane missiles. However, in a meta where everyone is playing 1 and 2 mana cards with only 1 or 2 health, throwing around one mana fireballs seems like a decent thing to be doing.

Paladin

A card that makes Quest Paladin viable! Not really, but I did see someone on low level ranked playing the deck and it ran all over my pile of Mage cards that I’ve been using to try to finish the quest. I have packs upon packs of standard legal cards, but I’m trying to save them to open them for a YouTube video. See, guys I do care. As far as this card, this isn’t an example of a broken Echo card, but it does come pretty close.

Honorable Mention

Hearthstone has bulk rares, too! Just like their big brother Magic the Gathering. The difference here is that you get useful dust from the card in addition to the hollow empty feeling of what the card might have been after opening it from a pack.

Priest

In addition to the earlier “that’s busted, wait that’s terrible, no actually that’s a decent situationally” card that I mentioned above, this is my other favorite type of card. It’s a card that does new things that we’re not used to in the game. Like the other type of card, it might just be terrible. Then again, it just might be brilliant and it hasn’t found where it wants to be yet. I can’t wait to find out.

Honorable Mention

This was a toss up between Squashling (but I didn’t want to mention two Echo cards back to back like this), Quartz Elemental (which could be fun in an Inner Fire deck, but ultimately isn’t all that interesting), and this card. Other than those reasons above, I chose this card because I like the Priest theme of using your opponent’s cards against them. Sure, rogue has those cards, too, but rogues are thieves on the outside. This confirms my suspicions that any priest in any fantasy setting is secretly a thief.

Rogue

Not a good card, but it is a Legendary minion that you can play multiple times in a turn (at least 3 on turn 10 and maybe more given coins), and it gives you a body and a card every time. Hearthstone understands that if they can’t give us great cards every time, at least they can give us fun cards.

Honorable Mention

This was a tough one and for the opposite reason of the priest honorable mention section. That one had too many good cards to choose. Rogue got some really awful cards in this expansion. I suppose that’s to be expected since they got Kingsbane last time and that card bordered on completely busted. As far as Tess goes, she doesn’t make Thief Rogue viable, but she does make it fun, in that unnerving Yogg kind of way that we all love.

Shaman

In Knights of the Frozen Throne, we got new hero cards for all of the classes. This hearkened back to the old WoW TCG where you got to choose your hero for your deck. This time, we just get poor old Hagatha. She’s got a decent battlecry, and a passive battlecry (which is always cool), but it pales in comparison to Valeera’s DK power. I choose cards because they are unique, not because they’re good.

Honorable Mention

What if they had made this 1 mana and given it Echo? Would it have been the broken Echo card that I know is coming sooner or later? I don’t think so, but we are definitely getting closer to it. What if it is still the exact same, but with Echo? That’s pretty broken, but you do potentially sacrifice your next turn for it. These are the things that keep me up at night.

Warlock

A 7 mana almost guaranteed board clear and you get a 4/4 minion out of it, too? I don’t usually pick good cards (and I might not have here), but this card seems crazy to me. This card is almost guaranteed not to see play because Cubelock seems pretty stable as a deck right now. So, nobody will ever suspect when I play this card on them. Muahahahahaha!

Honorable Mention

Another echo card that exists only to annoy your opponent? I’m sensing a bit of a theme here. This is kind of a weird card because it feels more like a Priest card than a Warlock card, but I’ll allow it. It’s just such a stupid and fun card that I could see playing two turns in a row against some silly aggro face deck just to prolong their misery.

Warrior

This isn’t a good card. This isn’t even a fun card. I mean, it has rush and that interesting twist of gaining +3 attack on the turn it’s played. This is maybe a decent Arena card. What gives with this pick? Well, that just goes to show you how terribly Warrior was treated with this expansion. If Rogue was awful, Warrior is off the charts terrible.

Honorable Mention

I seriously cannot come up with another Warrior card for honorable mention. This is not me trying to be cute or provocative. The Warrior cards are that bad. If you haven’t seen them yet and don’t believe me, just go look. There’s nothing good, nor interesting, nor fun. It’s just a pile of frightening garbage.

Shudderwock

You may have been surprised to not have seen this card in the Shaman section. It’s a crazy card that does crazy things. Seems like it would be my kind of card and I’d have been able to find some place for it. Well, I did. As with any new Hearthstone expansion, there is a busted card with busted interaction that makes a deck that does ridiculous things. This one is no different.

I had heard rumbling about this deck and how stupid and noninteractive it was. I played against it once and it seemed weird, but not overpowered. Then, I decided to do something that I haven’t ever done. I took all of my dust and I crafted the cards necessary to create the deck. Playing it only once was enough for me to see that it is the special kind of stupid that Hearthstone can be known for. I misplayed the deck and I was still able to win because the card is so silly. It just becomes an almost infinite series of interactions that can’t be countered by the opponent, not even by conceding. I have a feeling that something might be done about this card soon.

The Verdict

There are some decent cards in this set. There are also some possibly fun cards that might inspire me to make a few decks to try out during the season. Other than that, there isn’t much here. Overall, the set is quite disappointing and while it might change the meta a bit and bring back some old deck archetypes, I don’t see there being huge changes overall.

The few streams that I’ve been able to watch this week verify that. Kingsbane Rogue is gone and Druid is more of a taunt variety. However,Cube and Control Warlock still seem to be a big part of the meta along with different varieties of aggro Paladin and I don’t see those going away any time soon.

This Little Pika Went to the Gym

Introduction

Well, a day of substitute teaching and the college championship game were enough to distract me from posting anything to either page yesterday.A� Therefore, I have to be extra dilligent about making sure that I start my daily posts again today.A� I realize that I won’t be able to update the page daily when I go back to work in a week and a half.A� However, if I make that the goal now, when I am teaching again, 2-3 updates per week wont’ feel so cumbersome.

I’ve done a couple of articles about Pokemon Go in the past.A� Like most other pages, I wrote about the improbable, unbelievable, and almost inexplicable initial success and then the inevitable crash of the game.A� Since then, I have played the game on a semi-regular basis.A� Quinn wanted to do his little kid podcast about Pokemon this week, so I thought this is as good a time as any to revisit the game.

The Good

When the game first released, there were words upon words to create paragraphs and pages (if pages still existed in their traditional form in our digital world) about the exercise benefits of the game.A� It inspired people to get out into the outside world by leading them to new or possibly previously unexplored places.A� Gyms gave important items like potions and eggs.A� In order to hatch the eggs, you needed to walk 2, 5, or 10k.

The phenomenon was so ubiquitous that it married an established meme and had little meme babies.

Any time you went to a new place, you opened up the app to see what new types of Pokemon might be available in that area.A� We went to the beach and I remember being excited when I saw and caught my first Staryu.A� After the beach, we went to a restaurant and Quinn and I had way too much fun taking pictures of Pokemon on our food plates.A� Just as unlikely as getting people to go outside and exercise, Pokemon Go got them to interact socially.

In addition to taking those pictures and posting them online, you could always recognize another Pokemon Go player.A� I know that we aren’t supposed to stereotype, but anytime you saw someone who was just a bit too pale for the time of year and they were looking at their phone, there was a good chance that they were playing Pokemon Go.A� At the beginning, all you could do was tip your hoodie to them, trade war stories, and maybe contact information depending on how brave you felt.A� Niantic promised other ways to interact, but they were slow in implementing them.

It doesn’t make it any better, but this is always the reaction to new and interesting things. “Wow, this thing is very interesting! You should check it out!” *later* “God, I liked this thing so much better when there weren’t so many people interested in it.”

One of the ways that have finally been brought into the game that have allowed people to get together and be social is raids.A� The only experience I have with raids is that it looked like one was going on during our trip to the aquarium in Woods Hole, someone posted something on Facebook about one happening in town in an attempt to get a group (but it never happened) and I foolishly tried to solo one that was happening down the street.A� I didn’t get a chance to try the raid while on the Cape for a couple of reasons, but I wish I had just taken the time to check it out.A� Living in a small town without many tech or gaming savvy people strikes again as I haven’t gotten an opportunity like that since.

The Bad

Because of the community aspect of raiding, as I just mentioned, I don’t get any chances to experience what is now a fundamental part of the game.A� As a result, I’m stuck playing the game as it was released.A� Walking down the street to the local Wal*Mart, I keep an eye out for Pokemon and hope that 10k egg hatches into something interesting or fun.A� Look, I’m not one to needless complain about something and I hope that’s not what this sounds like.A� I mean, I am complaining (and it may be needless because there are ways to combat the isolation), but I also think I have a valid point.

Okay, okay. I get the point. At least I’ll hatch a ton of eggs.

Because, other than the raids, there aren’t a ton of new features.A� I think I saw something about weather effects determining Pokemon spawns and there are new Pokemon, which I said earlier is one of the most fun parts of the game (and in fact the reason that the games exists), but some of the most anticipated features have not been included in the game.A� There are no trainer battles.A� There is no trading of Pokemon.A� Those, too, are integral to the games and need to be a part of this game for it to ever be considered in the same league as the other games.

The Ugly

I did an article about Mario Run before Thanksgiving.A� That is another Nintendo property that has made the move to mobile.A� I enjoy that game quite a bit and a major reason why is that Nintendo hasn’t given into the real money pressure that mobile puts on developers.A� Most mobile games give you the full game, but to get the full experience, players quickly realize that they have to pay real money for items or experience.A� Mario Run has none of that and it is a refreshing oasis in the salty sea of P2E (Pay to Exist) of the rest of the mobile gaming library.

I was careful earlier to call Mario Run a Nintendo property.A� Nintendo owns that one and they developed the game.A� However, Pokemon Go is a Nintendo property, but Niantic has made the actual game.A� That was important in the article that I wrote about Pokemon Go user base crashing once people realized just how limited the game was and it was even worse than now.A� I said then that the game felt like a beta test that somehow made it to release.A� That’s not the ugly anymore.A� The game still feels unfinished, but it’s getting better.

My main complaint about the game is that Niantic has embraced the real money trend that I dislike so much.A� They aren’t pushing it as much as other games.A� It isn’t necessary to buy things to advance in the game.A� However, I have noticed that when I logged in a few times or checked out the webpage or social media for the game, they’ve been testing the waters a bit with taking that route.

99 cents to win the game? What is the objective of the game? To remove the ads?

The Verdict

Look, I get that game companies need to make money.A� I also get that this is the environment that mobile games have grown up in and that it is harder to get people to pay money up front for games that are so simple that they can fit on your phone.A� However, phones are getting more powerful and some of the games are more interesting and have as good or better gameplay than their console counterparts.A� It only takes one success before others start to attempt to mimic that success.A� If Pokemon Go can just resist the P2W siren song and start to build back up its user base, maybe it can lead to a new era in mobile gaming.

That’s certainly not going to happen if they don’t implement those features that are missing.A� Since the early announcement that they were thinking/considering/dreaming of possibly thinking about maybe putting together a committee that might introduce trading and trainer battles to the game I have not heard any more discussion along those lines.A� It’s probably tough to make them happen, but it would be nice to get an update about the possible update.A� Oh well, I will just continue to try to find funny pictures to post on our Instagram and get excited every time that new Pokemon type pops up on the screen when I open the app.

2 Generations Gaming 2017 in Review

Introduction

It’s the first day of 2018.A� This is the time every year that is traditionally set aside for reflection on the previous 365 (or 366) days.A� There are countdowns, marathons, and years in review.A� This article falls into the last category.A� While it has been difficult to maintain a consistent video or podcast schedule, I’ve done okay at updating the web page with at least one article a month.A� I’ve also kept busy with plenty of other geeky fun.A� Let’s reminisce on the best, the worst, and the ugliest.

The Good

APBA Baseball:A� I only recently rediscovered this game in one of my closets and I’m going to write an article this week about the couple of games I played last week.A� I know that others might prefer Strat-O-Matic or another simulator, but this is the only one I’ve played and it does what I want it to do.A� Overall, this has been a great addition to my gaming life again and I can’t wait to dive deeper into the baseball simulation greatness.

Mobile Gaming:A� Old school favorites like Candy Crush and Angry Birds.A� New favorites like Sim City Build It, Fallout Shelter, Magic the Gathering Puzzle Quest, and Pokemon Go.A� All of these games have been played with great regularity over the past year on my phone.A� In fact, most of my video game time has been spent on my phone.A� That’s saying something for a person who used to denigrate all mobile games as shovelware.

Eternal/Hearthstone:A� Yes, these are both games that could have technically been included in the mobile section.A� However, they’ve had more impact on me than the other games included in that list.A� I started playing Eternal during one of my rage quits from Hearthstone earlier in the year.A� I had seen Brian Kibler playing the game on stream and figured I’d give it a chance.A� I’m glad that I did.A� While I don’t play it as much as when I first started, it still has a place in my weekly rotation.A� I have had an up and down relationship with Hearthstone.A� However, as I said to Chris a couple of days ago, I seem to have found my comfort zone in the game.A� I have little to no interest in competitive play of any sort.A� I generally just log in every couple of days to do quests, earn gold, and every now and then win a pack that I won’t open.

Comics:A� 2017 was the year that saw me get back into comics.A� Marvel’s Secret Empire event led to a discovery of the well executed DC Rebirth titles.A� Following them for a few months led right into Metal and sticking with Secret Empire to the end let me experience the start of Legacy.A� Almost all of these events were well executed, but it wasn’t all good for comics this year.A� More on that later.

Magic the Gathering:A� You wouldn’t think that I’d rank this so highly in the good category.A� Given that Chris and I discussed a few times how little we had played the game this year.A� I wasn’t even watching streams.A� It just looked like the game had run its course for us.A� Then, a couple of things happened.A� Well, on my end, one major thing happened.A� During one of our summer trips, I played Magic with all three boys.A� First, we played a couple of two headed giant games with decks that I had built over the years.A� Then, I picked up the Nicol Bolas box set and finally the Explorers of Ixalan.A� We haven’t played the Explorers yet, but there is time.A� Any game that gets me closer to my kids is a great game.

The Best:A� I know that it came late in the year, but any time a Star Wars movie is released and it is half decent, that will be the best thing about my year.A� When it is one of the best of the franchise, it will be the best thing of the decade.A� When I get to experience it with my kids and father in law, it just might be one of the highlights of my life.A� I won’t say much more because I have an article planned to go into more detail, but I absolutely loved this movie and it was a perfect way to start my holiday break.

The Bad

No New Console:A� This is the first year in a few that we haven’t gotten a new console.A� I was going back and forth for a few weeks on whether or not to buy an XBox One Minecraft edition.A� I’ve had my eye on it for a while.A� Then, there seems to have been a mix up with my last December check and unless I sub in January, I won’t get paid at all, so economics won out.A� Liam did buy himself a Gamecube and we found the Dreamcast (but it needs to be repaired), so there are some “new” games being played right now, but no new hardware makes me feel a bit sad.A� We won’t be down for long, though.A� We are looking at a Switch and I’m almost positive that I’ll get an XBox in February.

The Worst:A� Only two for this one?A� Yep, and only two for the next one, too.A� By now, you should know my very positive outlook on things and this shouldn’t come as a surprise.A� Also, the fact that I just talked so much about how comics were a good thing this year might also make this choice for “the worst” seem weird at best and probably perplexing.A� But, I have a valid explanation.A� I loved the stories and art of the comics, but hated the cover prices.A� I was spending far too much money on them and I couldn’t justify doing so anymore.A� At least with games, I get massive replay value from them and they allow me to spend more time with my kids.A� Comics did neither of those.A� It was 3-7 dollars spent on 10-15 minutes of enjoyment.A� That’s just awful.

The Ugly

Our Podcast Lineup:A� I was just talking to a friend (and one of the first fans of the page) about the 2 Guys Gaming podcast.A� He said something about how he thought it was damn good and that it could have been something.A� Not one to take compliments very gracefully, I changed the subject quickly.A� However, the podcasts are fun for me to do and I really want to get back to doing them.A� There have been a few that I listen to that have taken long breaks and come back stronger.A� One, in particular, stopped and started a few times, but it is again one of my favorites.A� So, our planning is ugly, but hopefully by this time next year, it will be good.

Nerd on Nerd Violence:A� This is something that I’ve often spoken against.A� However, as nerd culture has become popular culture, the nerd on nerd violence has increased to an unacceptable level.A� It used to be that when you were picked on by somebody, you always had your nerd buddies to get your back.A� If there was an actual fight, you’d all get your butts kicked, but they were there to take your mind off of being the brunt of some sort of physical or psychological abuse.A� Now, some of the worst abuse of nerds is coming from other nerds.A� It isn’t just good-natured joke fights about whether Star Trek or Star Wars is better.A� It’s full on attacks of each other and the things we hold dear.A� I’m going to talk about this more in my Star Wars article and it might just be that all violence is increasing, but this makes me incredibly sad.

The Verdict

2017 wasn’t all fun and games.A� It wasn’t all poorly executed puns, either.A� It was a good bordering on great year that gives us an excellent foundation to make 2018 even better.A� Happy New Year, All!A� Make it the best one ever!

Run Mario Run!

Introduction

I don’t remember how I learned about the Mario Run mobile game.A� It might have been that I saw a beta invite (or whatever the mobile equivalent of aA� beta invite is) in the Google Play store.A� I do remember that I downloaded it as soon as I saw it was available since I signed up for that invite to get access to the game as soon as possible.

I mean, I am the guy who has said that all Nintendo has to do is release a Mario, Zelda, and Metroid game on a system to get me to buy it enough times that it is pretty much self parody at this point to repeat it.A� I played it the whole way through within a day or two.A� Then, I changed phones twice.A� As you all know, my luck with electronics breaking is legendarily bad.A� Some of it is my doing.A� Some of it is just bad luck like a computer falling down the stairs or a phone getting run over in a parking lot.A� In either case, when I downloaded the game again recently, I thought I had lost all progress and my purchase, too.A� So, I didn’t play it for a few weeks.

Only one save slot in Pokemon. No cloud save in their mobile game, either? What the hell, Nintendo?

I was willing to pay for the game again, especially since they were running a sale and only charging half price for the game.A� Then, I learned that there was a way to restore my purchase.A� It didn’t restore my progress, but that was fine.A� As I said earlier, the game can be finished in a short period of time.A� When I wasn’t distracted by the new mode, I tried to clear the game again to access Star World.A� More on that in the next section.

The Good

Even though I was excited about the game, I wondered and worried how Mario would translate to mobile.A� Look, I get that the heart of Mario is just run and jump.A� Those actions are pretty easy to replicate in the mobile format.A� Heck, if they can make a decent fighting game on mobile with a variety of moves in Injustice 2 (which is still broken for me and I’m sad about that), then they can make Mario run and jump.

Granted, the more recent Mario games have more to offer like 3D motion and teamwork, but the basics of the games are running and jumping on Goombas.A� So, while maybe I shouldn’t have been, I was surprised to see that the game works well.A� The controls are intuitive and it is Mario game play.A� That alone should be enough to get people into the game.A� But, wait, there’s more.

I mean, seriously. Is this screenshot from a phone or 3DS? I don’t know. Well, that’s not true. It’s a phone.

Another appeal of the game is that they have included multiple game modes.A� When I first started playing the game, there were only two.A� There was a “Tour” mode that played like a normal Mario game and you played through stages and worlds to advance to castles and eventually fight against Bowser to finish the game.A� Aside from that, there was also a “Rally” mode that was a “multiplayer” mode.A� In reality, you competed against a ghost of another player to collect more coins.A� The player that won got a collection of different colored Toads that they could use to buy buildings to improve their kingdom.

Speaking of the kingdom, when I came back to the game, they had introduced a new game mode.A� They call it Remix 10 and it is billed as some of the shortest Mario levels in history.A� That’s no lie.A� What they do is they take the various levels from the game and shrink them into bite size (and even less than bite size in some cases) portions and put 10 of them together.A�It’s a fun game mode and the one that I find myself playing over and over again.A� The goal is to collect 3 rainbow coins from each level.A� Then, at the end of the level is usually some decoration for the kingdom.

So, what is this kingdom?A� The kingdom is a collection of buildings.A� Some are decorative.A� Some offer small bonuses.A� Other than vanity, I’m not entirely sure what the point of the kingdom is in the game.A� It’s not my idea of good game design.A� Nor am I actively opposed to it and, if you are the type to enjoy that sort of thing, then that’s another potentially good aspect of the game.

The Bad

It’s not exactly Mario.A� Sure, there is running and jumping and it feels as much like Mario as they can make a simple mobile game where the character automatically runs and you make him jump by tapping the screen feel like Mario.A� It’s not just because the character looks like Mario and the enemies look like Mario enemies, either.A� You just get the feeling when you’re playing that you are almost playing a Mario game.A� It’s just not all the way Mario.A� You can’t go back on levels unless level design allows it via wall jumps or arrow jumps.A� Heck you can’t even stop to explore if there are hidden areas in the level.A� I don’t think there are any hidden levels as the game forces a very linear progression through the game.

Also, it is short.A� I’ve already said that the main “campaign”, if you can call it that would take most gamers less than two hours.A� Less than one hour or even a half an hour if you are dedicated and better that the average noob.A� Sure, there are goodies to be collected and increasingly difficult coins to be found for each level.A� To be honest, that hasn’t been enough to keep me playing the main mode.A� Mostly, now, I play the Tour and Remix 10 modes.A� Remix 10, especially, is fun and it takes almost no time commitment to play.A� But, if you are the type who just wants to beat a game, you won’t find the infinite hamster wheel of Candy Crush.A� 30 to 120 minutes and you’re done.

The Ugly

The kingdom introduces some annoying mobile tropes like unlockable collectibles.A� In true Nintendo fashion they haven’t added real money microtransactions to the game, but that almost makes it even more annoying.A� The fact that I buy things with coins makes me think of the joke game “DLC Quest” where you are constantly using your coins to make the game complete.A� It’s all cosmetic and there’s no real money, but it’s still annoying to be reminded how icky mobile gaming can sometimes feel.

It’s pandemonium in the Mushroom Kingdom as money has lost all worth and Mario exists only for the pleasure of some sick old man.

If I know Nintendo, I know that they won’t change on the real money issue.A� However, as I was doing research for the article (Googling for images), I came across some news that the game has not been as profitable as they hoped.A� I mean, maybe that’s just the way that you can make money from these mobile games.A� They charged 10 bucks for the full version of the game.A� Once you bought it, you own it.A� I like that type of game, but so many others in the market are all too happy to take your money in exchange for (ultimately worthless) virtual goods.A� Is it only a matter of time before Nintendo caves?A� I doubt it, but if they do, it will not be pretty.

The Verdict

While the main game is short, it is fun.A� There is enough variety in the 3 game modes (maybe more added eventually?) to keep you coming back for more.A� There is the kingdom building aspect of the game for the collectors out there.A� Thankfully, for now, Nintendo has not instituted any real money shop (other than the one to buy the full version of the game) and hopefully they never will.A� I won’t stop playing the game if they do, but I might slow down just out of habit.A� If you haven’t already, please download and play the game.A� Maybe we can convince Nintendo to release Zelda or Metroid!

Love is “Eternal”?

Introduction

I was watching Brian Kibler’s stream about a week ago and he was playing a card game other than Hearthstone. A�It wasn’t Magic, either. A�Now, that would be news. A�It was called Eternal and, from what I could gather, it appeared to be a cross between Magic and Hearthstone. A�As I explained it to Chris, it has the mana and interaction on your opponent’s turn of Magic, but the quick matches of Hearthstone.

Heck, it even looks and sounds like Hearthstone.

I know that might sound antithetical. A�Hell, Chris and I have spent many a text conversation discussing how much better Magic is than Hearthstone for a variety of reasons. A�The only thing that we agree is better in Hearthstone is the mana system. A�Gaining one mana per turn instead of hoping on a wing and a prayer that you curve properly is the best thing about Hearthstone. A�We tried a version of Magic with the Hearthstone rules and, it turns out, being able to do stuff every turn is a good thing.

Nevertheless, I watched the stream and the game. A�I also chatted with several others since Kibler’s is one of the few streams that doesn’t descend into spam/meme chaos every day and you can have a conversation. A�It was especially easy since only about half his viewers care about Eternal or don’t care at all what game he’s playing. A�They politely answered my questions, as well as questions that others had. A�After about a half an hour, I was convinced. A�I needed to try this game. A�I was going to download it via the Steam client and try it. A�Then, something even better happened. A�I learned that it was on mobile. A�I downloaded it, started playing through the tutorial, and immediately texted Chris.

Okay, Grandma. Why don’t you just call him? Nobody texts anymore. It’s all about the Snapchat emoji…or something. A�I’m even too old to trash talk myself about being too old.

The Good

This whole game is good. A�In fact, it’s great. A�One of the selling points was that it is very F2P friendly. A�I’m still the grumpy old man gamer who refuses to pay good money for digital goods/currency, so if a game doesn’t let me compete without dropping hard earned cash, I’m not playing. A�I was skeptical at first, but that skepticism soon faded. A�The tutorials give away starter decks, which isn’t different from Hearthstone on the surface. A�Underneath, though, it only takes 4 wins to earn a whole deck, where Hearthstone makes you play through 10 levels of the character to get all of the basic cards.

There are also puzzle levels that teach you about the basics of the game and give, as far as I know, 20 gold per. A�I have only finished one of them as of this writing. A�The reason for that is because I am having so much damn fun playing the game. A�Who wants to read the instructions when you can just be out there slinging spells and minions at your opponent’s face?

I’d like to phone a friend.

There are a ton of game modes in the game. A�In addition to the typical casual and ranked versus modes, they figured out a way to do an actual draft mode where you don’t have to wait for people to sit down at your “table”. A�There is also a PvP mode called “Event”, which has a special rule and loot attached to it. A�While most come to a card game to test their mettle against other people, guys like me are perfectly content beating the snot out of the overmatched AI. A�Thankfully, Eternal takes care of us with two single player modes. A�In “Gauntlet”, you choose a constructed deck and fight against AI until you win 7 games or lose 1. A�”Forge” is a draft like mode similar to Hearthstone Arena where you pick from 3 cards to build a deck and then fight the AI until you win 7 or lose 2. A�The difference here is that you get to keep all cards drafted.

That brings me back to the best part of Eternal. A�The individual who told me that the game was very F2P friendly was not lying. A�Nearly every day you are getting at least one pack. A�The packs are full. A�None of this 5 cards per pack nonsense. A�Modes cost more than Hearthstone, but you are also compensated better for performing in them. A�I won 7 games in Forge and got the 2,000 gold entry plus in rewards. A�I also received a couple of packs for my trouble. A�There is no problem in building a decent to good collection in this game.

The Bad

In keeping with my pie in the eye optimistic gamer attitude, there isn’t much that I can categorize as bad in this game. A�The most obvious is that the mana system is like Magic. A�Sure, they give you less of a chance of flooding and screwing with one mulligan of your opening hand and by limiting the number of influence (mana) you can draw in the opener and mulligan. A�Also, there is a card that lets you draw influence for the cost of one. A�Still, the flood and screw will not be denied and some games you just sit there and stare as your opponent beats you mercilessly.

An exclusive 2GG investigation reveals that statistics are broken.

The only other “bad” in the game is mostly likely just due to the fact that I’m a noob and don’t have the time to dedicate to getting better at drafting. A�Because of how it is set up, the skill cap for drafting is much higher than it is in Magic the Gathering. A�Again, instead of sitting down with a pod of players, you are “passed” a pack that has been opened sometime, somewhere, by someone and had cards taken from it. A�So, you can’t really pick up on signals or bully players off of strategies. A�What you can do is draft much more with synergy in mind. A�I just don’t have the skill to do it, so my only draft has ended with a very embarrassing 0-3 and I haven’t been back to try again.

The Ugly

I always worry with these types of games. A�Before you know it, the developer pulls the plug and you are left with a stagnant game or, worse, one that gets shut down completely. A�Now, honestly, I haven’t seen either of those happen with any of the games that I play. A�They must all maintain a high enough player base to justify keeping the servers open.

That’s not entirely true. I did join this game right before they decided to shut down the servers. A�Fare the well. A�I hardly knew ye.

I’m not saying that Eternal will shut down. A�However, I am worried that it won’t be able to maintain the player base in the face of all of these other games. A�One thing that it has going for it is that it is mobile and it seems to be quick paced, which has so far been a recipe for success with these types of games. A�The other side is that Magic is releasing their new digital property and it appears to occupy a lot of the same space as this game. A�I hope that Eternal can hold its own, but if not, it’s going to be ugly for me.

The Verdict

Eternal is a fun game. A�I have been playing it regularly for the last week. A�Unlike Hearthstone, which I log in to every couple of days to clear out quests and don’t really have much fun playing, I lose hours to Eternal and don’t regret it one bit. A�I know that it won’t ever reach Hearthstone levels of popularity because Blizzard just knows how to hook and then keep people running on that treadmill. A�However, I have had no problem in finding a match any time I log on and play to do the daily win quest.

Eternal is a cheap gamer’s game. A�They advertise it as a game where you can collect every card without spending any money. A�While that is probably true for Hearthstone and I’ve done pretty well by it, Eternal’s quest rewards are just an embarrassment of riches and I don’t doubt that I’ll have most, if not all, cards in a relatively short period of time.

Eternal is a well designed game. A�It is made and distributed by a company that employs prominent names in the gaming community. A�While that doesn’t always work out, I think of them as the Image of gaming. A�Image broke off from Marvel and DC to allow their creators to keep their creations and market them as they see fit. A�It didn’t work for everyone because not everyone is a marketing genius or able to keep a tight schedule. A�However, Image is still around, they are still allowing their creators full reign, and they are still making great comics. A�I hope to see the same from Dire Wolf.

Gods in the Palm of your Hand

(Editor’s Note: A�2 Generations Gaming is back with a celebration of all things DC Comics over the next couple of weeks due to our enjoyment of the new Wonder Woman movie. A�Next month is Spidey and Marvel!)

I believe I’ve mentioned the mobile version of MKX in one of my reviews recently. A�Even if I haven’t, just know that I’m not overly impressed with the game. A�Look, I know that it can’t be an exact port from the console versions to mobile, but I just felt that it could be so much more. A�Against my better judgement, I fell for the advertisement in MKX and downloaded Injustice 2 for the phone. A�I’ve heard good things about the console version. A� However, as a cheap old gamer, I don’t have either of the current gen consoles required to play it. A�Also, Kevin crushed my dreams by telling me that it would not be released on Steam. A�Therefore, I have to wait until another price drop or two (and Chris told me that one is imminent!) until I’m able to play that version.

As a result, even though I’m deeply disappointed in MKX and Injustice 2 is done by the same studio, I took the chance. A�Part of the reason is that Wonder Woman released this month and I had plans of doing a DC spectacular on the podcast and I needed some DC games to fill in the gaps on the web page. A�Just like the movies (more on that Friday), there haven’t been many decent DC related games other than the Arkham series. A�I remembered the Injustice name from the first game and, as always, hold out hope that things will get better.

Usually, I’m the guy on the left. Every now and then, I’m pretty sure that I’m standing in a puddle of piss.

Let’s start with my primary complaint about MKX. A�Combat, frankly, is boring. A�As I mentioned earlier, it is mobile, so it is unrealistic to think that an exact port is possible. A�However, I feel they could have adjusted the game to take advantage of the unique nature of mobile gaming and make it more strategy based than just tap, tap, tap. A�On a related note, I’ve found some additional strategy with the block mechanic, but even that is very limited. A�Injustice improves upon that.

Adding to the basic/combo attacks and block maneuver, each character has a jumping attack, a crouching attack, a rush attack, and even a ranged attack. A�Each of them is activated using a unique motion. A�The variety of moves makes it feel so much more like an actual fighting game than MKX. A�I will be investing much more time into Injustice 2. A�I’ve already weaved it into my regular rotation as I wait for cooldowns to expire in MTG:PQ and Sim City.

They’re not lying. In addition to the fact that there is an actual moves list, the characters have unique animations for their different moves. It is quite an impressive improvement on MKX.

So, the move set is more complete. A�Big deal. A�Hey, as far as I’m concerned, it is a big deal. A�That alone makes it work the price of admission. A�By the way, that price is free for both games. A�It’s a metaphor, okay?! A�However, that’s not all. A�There are several other reasons that Injustice 2 is a vastly superior game to MKX. A�Let’s explore them.

There are more and a wider variety of game modes. A�Alongside the campaign mode, arena (which is similar to faction wars), and resource missions (sort of a ladder style mode that is somewhat analogous to Shao Khan’s tower), there is also a robust story mode, operations, and something called challenges. A�As of this writing, I’ve played all of the modes at least once.

I’ve only played through part of the story, but the cut scene that I watched was entertaining enough to keep me interested and I will probably play through more eventually. A�Right now, I’d much rather play the other modes as they offer much better loot. A�Area pits you against random teams put together by other players with the computer as your actual opponent. A�Operations are a completely different way to play the game. A�You choose one (so far the only ones I have unlocked are one) of your characters to go on a “mission” which awards various prizes depending on the mission. A�It is not terribly interactive, but I appreciate the attempt at doing something different. A�Plus, they’re part of the daily objectives that award you hero shards to unlock a new Wonder Woman.

For some reason, I’m all about Wonder Woman right now.

The last improvement that I will discuss is the concept of class advantage. A�This may exist in MKX. A�If it does, though, I’m not aware of it. A�Injustice 2 makes it abundantly clear that even a noob like me can not only know about it but also have a basic understanding of the Rochambeau nature of the mechanic.

I probably could go on, but I’m blanking on other specific parts of the game that have impressed me. A�It’s just overall a vastly improved game over MKX and very much what I expected a mobile fighting game would be without having any actual expectations the first time that I played MKX. A�Does that make sense? A�Probably not, so let me try to unpack it.

As we’ve seen, unpacking issues usually becomes a trip into dark and scary places.

I hoped that MKX would at least be a decent emulation of the console version. A�In the graphics, animation, and sound departments, it was. A�For everything else, it was hopelessly not. A�I played the game because it kept me entertained for about 5 or 10 minutes (my usual attention span when it comes to mobile games), but I wished for more. A�Having my expectations somewhat diminished by the disappointment of MKX, I went into Injustice 2 figuring that it might just be the same and I’d end up deleting it from my phone in a month or two to make room.

Obviously, that hasn’t happened. A�I’m playing Injustice on a regular basis and it has now moved past Sim City as my second most played game after MTG:PQ. A�I don’t see it surpassing that game as, no matter how much it frustrates me, I really enjoy that one. A�I’m not sure what a game would need to do to become my favorite over MTG:PQ. A�It is just a solid mobile game with that MTG flavor that I enjoy so much.

In closing, I really, really like the Injustice 2 mobile app. A�There are a wide variety of characters with a complete move set. A�Several game modes keep the game feeling fresh even if mobile isn’t exactly the best way to experience a fighting game. A�It’s free and the virtual currencies are easy enough to obtain that I haven’t found myself considering a purchase at all. A�We all know that I will usually make my 10 or 20 dollar purchase to support the developers, but I haven’t figured out what that will look like for this one yet. A�So, download it and give it a try. A�I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Saving My Galaxy?

(Editor’s Note: A�Yes, this headline is one of our soon to be famous lame “dad joke” double meaning ones. A�Not only that, I will “mom joke” it and explain the punchline! A�First, the game is called “Galaxy of Heroes”. A�Secondly, I actually was playing it on a Galaxy and Samsung batteries are known to explode/catch on fire! A�Thank you, I’ll be here all week. A�Tip your servers.)

I am still wary of mobile games. A�Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I still worry that I’m going to download a game and its going to be some random match-3 with an IP slapped on it or, possibly worse, a terrible Chinese card A�battle rip off game. A�I mean, come on, Hearthstone is on mobile now. A�I just downloaded MKX on my phone. A�Granted, the gameplay of that one is pretty terrible and it is mostly just a treadmill game. A�Still, the graphics are great and the treadmill is enough to keep me logging in. A�So, I’m not entirely sure why I can’t let go of that bias. A�Old prejudice die hard.

I think the most recent election proved that. Damn, this just got way too real.

And, back to the main topic of the article. A�I’ve covered a PC Star Wars game (2 if you count the Minecraft mod), a console game, and a tabletop miniature game. A�All that’s left is mobile to cover all of the bases. A�Once upon a time, I played the Commander game, which is a clone of Clash of Clans. A�Honestly, I’m not that big of a flan of Clash and the Star Wars coating wasn’t enough to make it worth my time. A�So, I went on the search for a different mobile game.

Enter both an ad and an “Editor’s Choice” designation for Star Wars: A�Galaxy of Heroes and maybe my earlier rant starts to make sense. A�Having been burned by my previous experience, I worried that a similar disappointment awaited me in this game. A�”But, Editor’s Choice!” You might say. A�Honestly, that’s the only reason that I downloaded it. A�Score another one for the capitalist pigs!

Well, not really, since the game is free to play. A�But, you get the point. A�I’m honestly glad that I did end up downloading it. A�The game does introduce “cards”–one of the things that I worried about–but it is an honest to goodness turn based strategy game. A�Granted, it isn’t as in depth as some other games. A�Also, there is literally no story.

I think if ever there was an appropriate time to test this theory, it would be in writing the story for a Star Wars video game. A�Don’t they literally write themselves?

That’s the most disappointing part of the game. A�As someone who plays games mostly for the story, it can be difficult to enjoy a game that eschews story for no good reason. A�Besides, even Candy Crush has a coherent story. A�There’s certainly no excuse for a Star Wars game to not have at least some story of story. A�It’s unforgivable! A�Sure, they attempt to put a face on it like there’s a story by pretending some nonsense or another, but it is barely worth mentioning.

However, if you either don’t care about story or can ignore the utter lack of one, you will be rewarded with a mostly positive game experience. A�I mean, it isn’t any more than tap gameplay of most mobile games. A�However, some game types and genres fit better than others. A�Others, as evidenced by Mortal Kombat, suffer greatly.

I know that I can sometimes exaggerate things, but the graphics of this game are damn good, right? I know they couldn’t do a full port of the game, but *tap* *tap* *tap* for punch, punch kick?

The aforementioned “match 3” game is obviously some of the best, er, match for this style. A�It shows in the sheer numbers of those games. A�As is to be expected, most are crap. A�Don’t get me wrong. A�I actually enjoy some of them. A�The Puzzle Quest series, for instance, are great games.

Thankfully, though, this isn’t that. A�It also is not one of those lame “card battlers” that have come out of Chinese game studios. A�There are “cards” in the game, but they aren’t integral to the actual gameplay. A�The game revolves around turn based combat. A�Initially, I almost fell into the habit of calling it a turn based RPG. A�Other than the combat, though, there is nothing here that I’d even remotely call an RPG.

As already mentioned, it is severely lacking in any type of story. A�After having played it a bit more, the weird thing about that is that they actually lump your “missions” into clumps on similar planets. A�That fact lends itself to developing a reason why your party is on that planet, objectives that your party needs to accomplish (other than just killing dudes), and you got yourself a story.

I mean, seriously. I can’t promise that I come as cheap as them or could write as well as them, but that was just off the top of my head.

So far, it has been very easy to level my player level and each level you get a bag full of goodies from it. A�You use those goodies to level your characters, rinse, and repeat. A�I haven’t been tempted to spend real cash on the game yet, but I’m the kind of person who doesn’t often spend a ton of money on these games, so maybe I’m not the best barometer in that case. A�Then again, if you are like me and you like to squeeze as much as you can out of these free to play games and let the whales throw around their money to support your habit, then this seems like a game that will let you do that.

Add in the occasional “Wow, cool!” moment when you open up a familiar character from one of the movies and you have a pretty decent game. A�It isn’t high on my rotation. A�Also, it remains to be seen if I continue to log in every day. A�But, for right now, it has become a part of my daily routine.

Pokemon Going, Going, Gone?

Like most people, I got caught up in the initial hype about Pokemon Go. A�I have a text chain between me and Chris that goes on for several days about how addictive the game is. A�Articles were written illustrating how Nintendo and Niantic were able to do what doctors, politicians, and parents all over America could not. A�They got people to go outside and voluntarily walk. A�Pokemon Go was heralded as the new must have “it” app for fitness and recreation. A�Nintendo’s stock rose significantly until they reminded people that they had little to nothing to do with the app or its success.

You might argue for the case of modesty or stupidity on Nintendo’s part. A�Initially, I thought the move was stupid. A�The more I thought about it, though, I realized that it might be a misguided attempt to avoid litigation or fines. A�Why they might face fines, I can’t explain, and it sounds silly now. A�But, sometimes the rules and regulations of the finance industry confuse and enrage me. A�I suspect that corporations and their lawyers feel the same way and that’s how we ended up with America, Inc’s first CEO.

I mean, seriously, these guys might be totally reasonable and actually believe that they are doing what’s best for people. But, they always look like every bully bad guy from every 1980s movie.

I now realize that they most likely just wanted to distance themselves from the app due to the inevitable backlash. A�Because, just as quickly and easily as they hooked people on the basic concept of Pokemon in real life, they saw their user base shrink to only a fraction of its peak. A�As is often the case with the internet, some of the hate was ridiculous. A�People A�worried that Nintendo (again, not involved in the project in any significant way) was collecting all of the map and camera data from users and storing it on a server. A�What they’d then do with that data was never explicitly defined as far as I know. A�But, so goes all such paranoid conspiracy theories. A�Others just hated it because it was popular and they think that all it takes to be cool and edgy is to hate things that are popular.

After the initial buzz wore off, I started to realize what others realized. A�Like so many games that are released these days, Pokemon Go started to feel more like an open beta than a finished game. A�Not one to use Twitter very much, I even sent out a tweet about it a few months ago. A�Once you get beyond the coolness factor of “gotta catch em all” and taking funny pictures of Pokemon on your friends butt, what is there? A�The “game” is little more than a glorified combination fit bit/snapchat filter app. A�There’s just not enough to keep me coming back right now.

Some of the pictures that you can get, though, are pretty funny.

But, you might argue, Nintendo has never been one to shy away from unfinished products or shovelware. A�While that may be true, more often than not, those games were 3rd party games and Nintendo was able to distance themselves from the trainwreck. A�Besides, there’s enough fan boys like me who will forgive almost anything if there’s a new Zelda, Mario, and/or Metroid.

Pokemon is different. A�As evidenced by the stock price episode, Pokemon is as recognizable as a Nintendo franchise as their big 3. A�It isn’t quite popular enough to warrant inclusion and expand to the “Big 4” since it has been more of a niche game than the other three. A�Pokemon Go started to change that some. A�People that I’d have never considered as Pokemon fans started playing this game. A�Pokemon was on the “it” list.

Plus, the partnership between Nintendo and Game Freak has been mutually beneficial. A�No reason to potentially damage that with some half baked app that may or may not prove to have staying power. A�Better to let it sing or swim and let Niantic deal with the fall out of this one. A�That’s my current half baked theory, at least. A�We’ll see if there’s any merit to it.

Any half baked idea I come up with won’t be even half as tasty as this one.

Even so, none of that explains why they would take that stance. A�In other words, what are the problems with Pokemon Go? A�Well, I’ve already explained that it feels unfinished. A�Again, that’s not unusual. A�In this day and age of digital gaming and endless patches, more often than not games are released missing content. A�Blizzard is one of the companies that is notorious for this. A�Look, I know that we like to have fun at the expense of Blizzard around here, but I promise that this isn’t piling on. A�Inevitably, every WoW expansion gets numerous patches. A�It’s gotten to the point where the patches have themes and even names. A�It’s not a but, it’s a feature.

While I don’t necessarily like this brave new world, it is our reality and, frankly, how we need to judge some games. A�What level of incomplete are you willing to tolerate in a game? A�It seems as if the answer to that question changes over time. A�I used to forgive Blizzard for their incomplete releases and routine patches. A�Heck, I even remember that I sold that feature when explaining the game to people. A�”They give you all of this additional content in the form of regular patches for no additional charge!”

Apparently, the named patches have been a thing since the beginning. I only started noticing the names later in my WoW career.

That was certainly not my attitude about Pokemon Go. A�I greeted their announcement of updates of the game with cynicism and skepticism. A�As it turns out, my reaction was warranted. A�While Niantic talked a good game about introducing some of the more desired features (most notably trainer battles), it has taken them two updates simply to introduce “buddy” Pokemon and generation 2.

Look, I never give up on a game that I think might have potential. A�I’m flawed that way. A�Also, as far as I know, there isn’t a template for releasing this type of game. A�Maybe the missing features take a massive amount of testing before being rolled out. A�Whatever the case, I don’t think that I will be a regular in the game until those features are implemented. A�I suspect that many others feel the same.

We Built This City (on Minecraft)

(Editor’s Note #1: A�Rock and roll is just a terrible foundation upon which to build a city.)

(Editor’s Note #2: A�Minecraft? A�You mean that Lego rip off game? A�I don’t understand the appeal.)

My thoughts on Minecraft mirrored those in the second editor’s note. A�Admittedly, they came from ignorance, but that’s how I felt. A�I couldn’t understand why anyone, let alone tens (or even hundreds) of millions of people, could play the game for hours on end. A�Heck, I even watched my kids play and joined in on a few games in my attempt to understand. A�Hey, not every game is for every gamer. A�Maybe it’s just a kid thing. A�Still, it nagged at me. A�There has to be something.

Turns out that, as with most things that are hugely popular, there are many somethings. A�As cheesy as it might sound, Minecraft is what you make it. A�(That’s not really a pun, but it was fully intended to invoke the crafting element of the game.) So, what caused this change of heart? A�As with most wars of ignorance, knowledge won the battle.

Though, to be fair, red or blue lasers would be nice to have in a battle, too.
Though, to be fair, red or blue lasers would be nice to have in a battle, too.

A couple of weeks ago my youngest asked me to play Minecraft again. A�Irritated, as I often am, with the mind numbing gameplay of Hearthstone, I figured “why not” and joined him in a game A�It was during this session that I finally learned that there are multiple modes in the game and that we had mostly played “Creative”, which is exactly how it sounds. A�There is no danger of dying and no objective in the game other than to build.

There’s nothing wrong with that and many people have built amazing things in creative mode. A�I guess that I am just more of a survival Minecrafter because once I learned about that mode, I was hooked. A�In survival, you have to mine for your resources, you can die, and actually offers a challenge other beyond recreating your favorite skyline or college football stadium.

Neither my favorite stadium, nor my own work. Grudgingly paying respect to the best college football program in recent history, I suppose.
Neither my favorite stadium, nor my own work. Grudgingly paying respect to the best college football program in recent history, I suppose.

My middle, youngest, and I have since created a survival world that has given us hours of entertainment. A�We planned our first house by building a moat in the desert to keep out monsters. A�We laughed when Quinn refused to leave the house and spent his first MInecraft week mostly sleeping. A�I explored to find a mountain range full of resources for our second, and now main, house. A�We cheered at mining our first diamonds in that mountain range. A�We found obsidian, used that to create a nether portal, and now make regular trips into that horrifying plane for supplies. A�We even researched “The End” and battling the Ender Dragon, but we need more time to plan and collect resources to make that a successful adventure.

Like I said earlier, the discover and subsequent adventuring through Survival mode has me hooked. A�I bought the game on my tablet (hey, it was only 7 bucks) and recently bought it for the PC, too. A�We now own the same game for XBox 360, mobile, and PC. A�There is precedent for me buying the same game more than once, but there usually has to be a special reason. A�Like it is my favorite game of all time or there was a steam bundle that includes the game.

Those are totally the reasons that I bought Portal 2 more than once. It has nothing to do with GladOS and her plan, with the help of Skynet, to destroy humanity. No, GladOS didn't tell me to say that last part. *nervous look off camera*
Those are totally the reasons that I bought Portal 2 more than once. It has nothing to do with GladOS and her plan, with the help of Skynet, to destroy humanity. No, GladOS didn’t tell me to say that last part. *nervous look off camera*

i don’t think Minecraft is available on Steam. A�If it is, don’t tell me, because I might just buy it again. A�That’s only partly a joke. A�So, what about this game has made me buy it three times? It is a good-great, even-game that offers hours of entertainment.A�It’s not my favorite game yet. A�That still goes to Portal 2. A�Well, why, then? A�Just tell us, Man!

Well, if you’re going to be impatient about it, I guess I have no choice. A�The squeaky wheel always gets the grease. A�Why are metaphors always so gross? A�Skinning cats, beating dead horses, greasing wheels. A�Okay, last diversion.

As if that previous statement could possibly be true.
As if that previous statement could possibly be true.

Okay, now for the reasons as to why I bought each version of the game and what they offer so you don’t have to buy them all. A�You can, of course, and even knowing what I know, I would to support a great company and game. A�If you are more frugal or con’t care about the fine people at Mojang feeding their families (you monster!), then keep reading.

I bought the XBOX 360 version as the second half of a Groupon (or some other such email marketing gimmick) deal a couple of years ago. A�Having heard of the game, but not respecting it, I got the game because “The boys will have fun with it.” A�For the record, Forza something or another was the other game and I have not played more than an hour on that game, played far more Minecraft, and maybe have even played more Minecraft than the kids.

The XBox 360 (and other console versions, I assume) offers a good introduction to the crafting system. A�Granted, there are FAQs and video guides galore these days to discover the recipes for any item in the Minecrft world, but if you’re more of a traditionalist, the PC version can be a tough nut to craft. A�Hey, terrible puns and non sequitirs. A�You get both in spades here at 2 Guys Gaming. A�If you’re a strict traditionalist, I believe that you can set the options to the classic crafting system and besides, that, there are still plenty of secrets to find in the game even if you play with the assistive crafting system.A� Besides, there are still plenty of secrets to find in the game even if you play with EZ mode crafting on.A� One final word of warning before continuing. A�The console versions lag slightly behind in terms of updates to the game, so you’re not necessarily playing the latest version if you’re only playing on console.

Look at Steve.  He looks so happy to be going on an adventure.  Little does he know that, soon enough, he will be dropped off of cliffs, blown up by creepers, eaten by zombies, doused in lava, and much, much worse.  Let's not tell him.  The surprise is half the fun.
Look at Steve. He looks so happy to be going on an adventure. Little does he know that, soon enough, he will be dropped off of cliffs, blown up by creepers, eaten by zombies, doused in lava, and much, much worse. Let’s not tell him. The surprise is half the fun.

I bought the mobile version next.A� It was the cheapest version and I wanted to see if was faithful to the big boy versions.A� SPOILER ALERT:A� At first glance, it is the same game.A� You mine blocks, you place blocks.A� You craft things.A� You kill zombies, skeletons, and creepers.A� It’s the same game.A� Well, not quite.A� On closer examination, there are things missing.A� It’s not a huge deal, but the mobile game is not the complete game.A� Even so, the mobile version also uses an easier crafting system and fairly intuitive controls.A� If you don’t want to pay full price for the game or want to get an overview before buying the full game, mobile Minecraft is a good place to get your feet wet.

If you’re like me, and Minecraft speaks to you on a deeply personal level, then you want the PC version.A� It is the most expensive, but allows you to install on an unlimited number of computers.A� That alone makes it worth the price if you have a bunch of Minecraft fans in the house like we do.A� There is another reason to invest in the PC version (the best reason, IMO) that I will discuss briefly, but I want to talk about the major drawback first.A� Unlike the XBox version, or even the mobile version, which both allow multiplayer at an affordable price, you need to spend $27 for each account to play multiplayer on the PC.A� That restriction even applies to LAN games, as we discovered this past weekend.A� That was a huge bummer.

Oh well, we still have split screen on the XBox 360 and cross platform support on mobile.A� What neither of those allow, and this leads into the best reason (in my opinion–and really, this is my article, so what else but my opinion) to own the PC version of the game.A� As far as I know, the PC is the only version to allow you to play mods that alter the way the game acts and, in some cases, alters the game in almost unrecognizable ways.A� So far, we have tried Pixelmon and Thaumcraft and have enjoyed them both.A� I have to say that I’m completely addicted to the study/minigame aspect of Thaumcraft as that one introduces a kind of wizardry to the game.A� Aiden has played much more of Pixelmon, which is to be expected, but I’ve had some fun with that one, too.A� That’s how we learned that you need separate accounts to play multiplayer on the PC.A� I wanted to join in on Aiden’s Pixelmon world, but coudn’t.A� I’m not willing (yet?) to pay for the multiple accounts.A� Hopefully, they offer a family account in the not too distant future.

What introduced me to mods and got me hooked to the game was I really wanted to find a mod that allows for Obsidian armor and found one that supposedly introduces technology to the game, but I haven’t gotten that one to run.A� I am always on the lookout for different mods, though, so if you know of any, send an email or leave it in the comments.

portalcraft
Portal in Minecraft? That might just be the way to get me to spend absurd amounts of money on this game.

Regulars at the page know that I’m perpetually behind the times in all things pop culture.A� I have no excuse for being this late to the Minecraft party other than ignorance.A� Nevertheless, if you have missed the boat for as long as I have (or, more likely, if you have children who are just now growing into the age of Minecraft) then I hope that this article serves as a good introduction into the pros and cons of each version so that you can make a more informed decision.A� Finally, if you do buy the game, give it a try.A� I can almost guarantee that you will find it entertaining.

Looking For Magic…

(Editor’s Note: …in all the wrong places? A�Okay, clever (?) title aside, here’s a TLDR. A�Do you like Magic? A�Do you like Puzzle Quest? A�If your answer is yes to both of these, then give the game a try.)

I’ve discussed the Puzzle Quest line of games on the page. A�For those of you who are new and don’t want to sift through other articles, I will offer a recap of my history with the games. A�I started with the titular game of the series on the XBox360 because it was being sold for 5 or 10 bucks. A�I don’t remember the exact price, but it was cheap enough that I didn’t hesitate to buy it. A�I’ve also discussed that I have the same problem when Steam has a sale. It didn’t hurt that I’m a sucker for the match-3 type puzzle games. A�Heck, I’ve been a fan of puzzle video games since I got Tetris with the Game Boy. A�The match-3 have the same appeal as Tetris without the marathon matches–unless you binge, as I sometimes will. A�Nevertheless, it is comforting to know that you can pick the game up, play a few rounds, and be done with it in less time than it takes you to—well, I’ll leave it at that and let your imagination take over.

It looks like a demon...on the toilet...playing Candy Crush...and he is on a higher level than I am.
It looks like a demon…on the toilet…playing Candy Crush…and he is on a higher level than I am.

I’ve played all of the big names. A�Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, the original Puzzle Quest on the XBox360, and I even finally discovered Candy Crush a couple of years ago. A�That one has occupied my free time more than any other game over the last few months. A�It’s just the way that these games work. A�They feel dumb and easy. A�Then, the difficulty ramps up and you’re playing them as much as you can to get that “one more level”. A�They show you how your friends are doing and it ramps up the competitive spirit that much more. I’ve even done something that I never thought I’d do. A�I’ve spent real money on these games. A�Candy Crush, especially, hooks me with their weekend “deals” about once every two months. A�I have since found other games because I’m stuck on one of the Candy Crush “hard” levels and have been for as long as I can remember. A�I’m not going to spend money on extra levels or anything because I’ve learned that lesson. My high–or is that low–point came during my Marvel Puzzle Quest playing days. A�I spent more money on that game than I care to admit. A�What can I say? A�I’m a sucker for Marvel and have not thrown my money away on comics for the better part of a decade and a half. A�Might as well turn that good money into ultimately useless characters for this silly game because, #YOLO

Okay, Sam, I get the point.
Okay, Sam, I get the point.

Enough of that silliness. A�Time for some on topic silliness. A�The reason that I mention my history with puzzle games in general, and Puzzle Quest in particular, is that a new one has been released. A�Most likely several have been released. A�One, in particular, caught my attention. A�I’ve written about it before on the page because I’ve been excited about it since it was announced. A�I write, of course, about Magic Puzzle Quest. A�They’ve done such a great job with Marvel Puzzle Quest that I couldn’t wait to see if they could capture that “Magic” again.

Pun not intended, but not exactly discouraged, either.
Pun not intended, but not exactly discouraged, either.

I should know by now to temper my expectations. A�I’m not saying that it is a bad game. A�It just feels…incomplete. A�The story mode in Marvel Puzzle Quest is deep and rich. A�I would say that is because it is based on recent comic storylines, but even the original Puzzle Quest had good, if generic, lore. A�In both cases, many levels are introduced with dialogue that helps to keep you immersed in the fantasy of a game that quickly gets boring otherwise. Given that precedent, I expected the newest version to follow, if not surpass, that standard. A�It falls well short. A�Most disappointing is that Wizards has stated that they want to be more committed to story and lore. A�That commitment showed in the latest iteration of the Duels series, but definitely took a step back in Magic Puzzle Quest. A�The only “story” is a single sentence, most likely just the flavor text from whatever card you happen to be battling. A�It’s a phenomenal disappointment. Really, though, that’s my only complaint. A�For someone like me, it’s a big deal. A�Your mileage, as usual, may vary. A�The gameplay is the same lame match-3 of all the others. A�Without an interesting story, the game is simply Candy Crush with Nissa or Liliana instead of the annoying little girl as your protagonist. A�What, then, keeps me logging in to this one instead of the candy filled cuteness?

That vile, vile cuteness. I see a demon...on the toilet...leading candy minions against me in a war for my soul. It is a war that I am losing...badly.
That vile, vile cuteness. I see a demon…on the toilet…leading candy minions against me in a war for my soul. It is a war that I am losing…badly.

Well, it is a Magic property. A�The familiarity of the characters and lore make this a more desirable destination if I’m going to be blowing up gems. A�Add the dimension of being able to summon creatures, play spells, use planeswalker powers, and better freebies to make Magic Puzzle Quest undeniably the choice for match-3 on mobile for me. A�Let’s talk about those freebies. A�In Candy Crush, there is a wheel of fortune that may or may not give you something useful. A�More often than not, the prize is nearly worthless. A�Magic gives guaranteed prizes every day. A�Sometimes it is in game currency. A�At the end of each week, you get a booster pack. A�I haven’t made it yet, but if you log in each day for a month, you get a fat pack of boosters.

I still prefer Marvel Puzzle Quest for the reasons outlined, but I only have that one on Steam and I don’t trust that my progress will carry over if I download the game onto my tablet. A�So, whenever I need to blow up gems while I’m…busy…I’ll log into Magic Puzzle Quest and collect cool stuff while I’m at it. A�I’ll also hope for a better story.