Tag Archives: Star Wars

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of The Last Jedi

Introduction

A little over 2 weeks ago, we went to see The Last Jedi.A� I invited my father in law because he went to see The Force Awakens with us and seemed to have a good time.A� Also, we enjoy our traditions in this family.A� Counter to seemingly everyone else, I went in search of leaks and spoilers.A� I have not been indoctrinated by pop culture to yearn for that “gotcha” moment to keep me entertained, so I don’t mind going in “spoiled”.A� I found a reddit thread that seemed legit and sated my Star Wars fever for a few days.A� I also stumbled on some hatred.A� While not unusual for a Star Wars film, this felt different.A� I will cover it more in the Ugly section.A� I also waited to write this review because I had made plans to see it again this past weekend, but they never materialized.A� So, before I forget any more details about the movie, on to the review.

The Good

At the risk of sounding cliche, the movie is good because it is Star Wars.A� Hey, the only reason that sounds cliche around here is because that is my one hacky writer move that I repeat in every one of these reviews.A� As usual, though, it is true.A� All of the things that make a Star Wars movie great are present in this film.A� Lightsaber battles, dog fights on planets and in space, family tension, mystery, cute stuffy type animals, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” (it’s hidden pretty well because I missed it), wonderful scenery, cool new aliens, and Princess/General Leia.

Although that last one isn’t going to be true anymore going forward. What, too soon?

After the near shot for shot remake of the original movie as The Force Awakens, I feared that we were in for a retelling of the original trilogy with new characters.A� That simply wasn’t true for this movie.A� Sure, there were tidbits that called back to the original movies, but this movie is exactly what it needed to be.

When talking with my friend that wanted to make plans to see it this weekend, that’s where I ended up on the movie.A� He asked me what I thought, and I said, “I loved it.”A� Then I started to walk that statement back a bit.A� It’s not that I didn’t love it, it’s just that there’s been some push back to this movie.A� I suppose that those complaints are valid in some form or fashion.A� I mean, even Luke Skywalker himself has said that he didn’t like the direction of his character for the movie.A� It’s just that I don’t agree with those criticisms.

So, I started with “I love it” and that is my true, unfiltered opinion of the movie.A� He replied, “Really?”A� I had no idea what that meant nor implied.A� Perhaps he had heard some of the criticisms of the film and now I’d have to defend this thing that I love because that’s what we have to do now.A� It’s not simply enough to say that you don’t like it.A� You have to tear it down and make the person who does like it feel bad about themselves for liking it and force them to defend it even though you have no intention of listening to their defense or changing your mind.A� It’s all very exhausting.

I have no idea if that’s what his “Really?” really meant or not.A� So, instead of launching into a lengthy defense of the movie, I took a breath and simply said, “It is exactly what it needed to be.”A� So, what does that mean?A� It serves as a bridge, giving old fans what they need to say good bye to their old heroes and giving new fans heroes of their own that they will have to say good-bye to someday.A� And, that’s where some of the normal Star Wars fan hatred is coming from.A� Change is difficult and scary.A� But, it is necessary so that things don’t become stagnant.A� I thought that this movie did a great job of showing that change in as thoughtful a way as it could, but people still weren’t happy.A� I was, though.A� As soon as we walked out of the theater, I looked at Aiden and said, “Let’s sneak into that theater and watch it again.”A� We didn’t, but I was completely serious.

The Bad

I’ve only seen it once and it was through the eyes of younger me as a fan and not as a critic at all.A� Therefore, I don’t have a ton of negative things to say about the movie, but at least they are the kinds of things that we always say about these movies.A� Hey, we Star Wars fans are nothing if not consistently inconsistent.

Actual quotes from Star Wars fans after every new movie.

Okay, so what do we always complain about?A� First, Captain Phasma died in a Boba Fett fashion.A� Second, cool characters like Maz and evil BB-8 were underutilized.A� Third, porgs?A� Seriously?A� Like I said, ever since Ewoks, there have been the stuffy friendly characters to keep the kids entertained and I must have finally transitioned from kid Star Wars fan who loved the Ewoks to grumpy old man Star Wars fan who could have done without the porgs entirely.A� I understand that they were inspired by the puffins or something native to the island.A� I just wished they weren’t there.

Porgs. Like Ewoks, only useless.

One other thing, and this is a common complaint that I’ve heard.A� The movie is a bit long.A� I get that they both want to tell the whole story and also want to give people their money’s worth as movie ticket prices creep up to 15 dollars and higher in some cities.A� However, not everything that was in the movie needed to be there, in my opinion.A� A few scenes went on for too long and the entire sequence on the casino planet contributed almost nothing to the movie.A� My cousin made the point that it will probably be more prominently featured in the next movie, which would make sense.A� Otherwise, I have no idea why it was there.

Finally, and this might just be me.A� Speaking of the casino planet, what the hell was up with that ending?A� It felt like more of an epilogue than a “to be continued”.A� I didn’t need a literal “to be continued” ending like The Force Awakens, but I had no idea what that kid has to do with the overall story.A� Sure, he’s force sensitive, but we already knew that there were other force sensitive people out there.A� Sure, he was one of the slaves that tasted a bit of freedom thanks to the rebels, but….oh.A� Never mind.A� I said earlier that this movie is serving as a bridge from old to new, but that bridge might be branching.A� Daisy Ridley has already said that she doesn’t know if she’s going to be back after Episode IX, so yeah.A� It makes sense.A� Keep your options open.A� Very shrewd, Disney.

The Ugly

I’ve complained about the movie a bit.A� I’ve also hinted that I found some hate on the internet about the movie.A� Again, that isn’t news.A� Search long enough and you will find someone on the internet that hates whatever you like.A� Also, I’ve made the joke a few times that only true Star Wars fans hate Star Wars.A� I mean, these are the people who pushed the creator of the mythos, their God, out of the picture.

See those jerks over there? Tell them to “Go to Hell” in 65 million different languages.

But, and I said this before, this hate felt different.A� There is a new malevolence out there.A� Maybe it’s an old malevolence that has bubbled to the surface.A� I’m not going to be reductive and blame it all on politics, but the climate has certainly made it more comfortable for these people to exist and let it be known that they exist.A� It started a bit with The Force Awakens when people got upset that there was a black Stormtrooper and it has been ever present in the Marvel fandom ever since Marvel tried to reinvent some of its heroes.A� Yes, in the case of the Marvel trolls, there are elements of racism and sexism that are troubling.

On that note, I’ve since heard that a group of internet trolls (some have said that they’re associated with the “alt right”, but I think that’s just a recent boogeyman catch all term to frighten people) that have made it their mission to make sure that these movies fail.A� I laughed out loud when I heard that.A� As I said to Chris, these guys might be able to pressure Marvel comics because the profit margin and margin for error are so low, but Star Wars doesn’t care if you’re mad.A� It will make a billion dollars with or without you.A� That theory has proven to be true as the movie just recently passed a billion dollars in about two weeks and I think I saw that it was the highest grossing movie of 2017 in only two weeks.

Still, like I said earlier, this kind of thing wears on you.A� Instead of simply being able to enjoy what you enjoy for reasons that you enjoy it, you are constantly being berated by those who don’t like it and feel that it is their mission to either get you to hate it too or simply argue with you for no reason other than to get you mad.A� They will stoop to racist, sexist, or just downright rude comments for no other reason that it will get a rise.A� They claim that they are fighting for free speech, but they’re simply fighting for their right to be jerks.A� It’s internet trolling taken to the extreme and I refuse to participate anymore.

The Verdict

I loved this movie.A� Whenever anyone asks and I don’t think about it before answering, that’s my answer.A� It is not a perfect movie.A� It is not even a perfect Star Wars movie.A� It is probably my second favorite of them all behind Empire Strikes Back.A� As my friend said, everyone liked Empire best and he’s mostly right.A� But, this one did exactly what it needed to, was a ton of fun to watch, and has left me just as excited to see Episode IX as I was to see this one after The Force Awakens.A� If you haven’t seen it, see it.A� If you have, see it again.

May the Force be with you.A� Always.

 

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!

Noob and Sons 2.02 – Jedi in Training

Welcome to the 2nd episode of the new Noob and Sons!

In this episode, I talked with Liam and Aiden about one of our new favorite games, X-Wing Miniatures.  We decided that it is a good game and we all want to explore it more.

Then, Quinn joined us to discuss the Lego Star Wars video games.  They combine two of our favorite things, so of course we love them!

Finally, we talked about the two most recent Star Wars movies that we’ve seen.  We compared The Force Awakens to Rogue One.

As always, thanks for listening and we’ll see you next month for DC comics games and movies!

Star Wars Potpourri

I have a couple of articles that ended with “to be continued”. A�While I, myself, hate the traditional cliffhanger, in this case it was unavoidable. A�”Okay, Buddy, that’s the argument that every hack writer makes.” A�You’re probably thinking at this point. A�”I really hate this hacky writing device, but I had no choice.” A�First, I won’t argue that I’m a hack. A�Second, you must understand. A�It is the end of the semester and things are insane right now. A�I am actually impressed that I’ve more or less kept up with my schedule as I can’t do that even during the best of weeks. A�So, while it was avoidable, I did not exert the extra effort to avoid it. A�Therefore, without further ado, I present the thrilling conclusion to 2 Generations Gaming Star Wars week.

Lego The Force Awakens

I have no update on this game because I haven’t been able to play it. A�Both our Wii U is not fond of the television in the playroom (it is an old tube TV, so doesn’t play well with the new fangled HD gaming systems) and the disc is behaving funny. A�I did watch some gameplay videos on YouTube to be able to discuss it shortly on the podcast, but I can’t report on my own experience right now.

I know, Chewy. Believe me, I’m disappointed, too.

Star Wars Battlefront

I’ve only loaded this one up once or twice since the original article, but I’m here to report that I still enjoy the game very much. A�I’ve gotten over my initial skepticism about the tutorial level that was only an FPS and the seemingly overly long X-Wing level to settle on a mostly positive impression of the game.

I played through some of the speeder level and it is even cooler than the Lego level. A�You don’t have the secrets (at least I didn’t find any secrets during my run) that you do in the Lego level, but the graphics are top notch and it really feels like you are in the movie. A�I want to play some more to try to finish the level as I was terrible at controlling the speeder and kept running into trees. A�So, I suppose, it was more or less canon.

The game does not mince words when you are bad.

I also did a bit of the escort mission to take the AT-AT to take over the rebel base in order to wait for Darth Vader. A�So, I guess I played those levels out of order. A�Oops. A�Well, really, who among us wouldn’t have done the same. A�You get to play as Vader or you get to escort an AT-AT? A�Really, that’s a no brainer. A�Regardless, I didn’t get very far in this level because the computer couldn’t handle the graphics. A� Wait, let me see if I can tune down the settings. A�Why didn’t I think of that earlier? A�And, nope, at the lowest level and only pulling 10 FPS. A�Well, this computer was never meant for gaming. A�Just a happy accident that some games are not as graphic intensive. A�Well, maybe if I get a full time job, I can pick up yet another gaming PC for myself. A�In the meantime, I’ll stick to what works on this computer.

X-Wing Miniatures

Of the games that I promised an update, I have played this one the most. A�First, I played against Liam to prepare for the podcast. A�Then, Chris and I played a game last Friday during our latest abbreviated nerd night. A�Even so, I might yet have to do another quick update on the game in the near future. A�You see, both games were played without the advanced rules because both times I was introducing the game to them. A�We may have been able to use the advanced rules in the game against Chris, but more on that in a minute.

When playing against Liam, the first thing he asked was how long a game might take. A�I found this a bit odd, as it’s not like he would have a hot date that night. A�He clarified by saying, “It’s just some games take a long time to play like Monopoly.” A�This time, I found his choice of simile odd. A�We almost never play Monopoly in this house. A�Perhaps he was trying to Muhammad Ali me with a bit of rope a dope.

Actual footage of my brain as Liam played his mind games on me.

If that was in intention, it worked. A�He beat me pretty handily. A�Maybe I just stink at the game and I’m making excuses. A�Granted, there is precedent for me being terrible at games. A�However, and this is the important part, I’m not one to make excuses. A�If i stink, I will fully admit that I stink. A�Besides, I beat Chris the next day, so if I stink, he’s even worse.

Speaking of Chris, I mentioned earlier that we probably could have played with the advanced rules. A�That’s because during our game, I found myself referring to the rulebook often to look up what a particular symbol meant. A�More often than not, my response was, “Oh, that makes sense” or “Yeah, I can see how that fits into the flow of the game.” A�So, while the basic game is fun, I think we’re ready to move on to the next level.

 

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.

Tiny Pilots

(Editor’s Note: A�Not very long ago in a teeny, tiny galaxy very near…)

More specifically, about a year ago and right here in this town, my friend introduced me to the X-Wing miniatures game. A�Long time readers know that I’ve been trying to get into miniatures for a couple of years. A�I even went as far as taking a painting class to try to jump start the process. A�It got me to purchase some of the models and even prime them. A�Then, I got no farther. A�Maybe this is finally the year that I branch out into the world of Hordes/War Machine. A�I have been reading the magazine quite a lot lately.

I also finally purchased my own copy of the X-Wing miniatures game. A�So, I am currently at the point in the process where I play prepainted miniatures and try to find the time to paint some of my own. A�It remains to be seen if I ever take the next step, but I am anxious to do so. A�We currently have nothing planned for the webpage and podcasts for August, so there’s a chance to motivate me to get the models ready for then.

While my friend had models from the original trilogy, the set that I ordered from Amazon because it was on sale has models from The Force Awakens. A�That doesn’t make a difference unless I go crazy and decide that I want to collect the various models. A�I don’t anticipate that happening because I’m a cheap ass gamer.

I was talking to Chris about the game and he texted me from one of the gaming stores, “They have Slave I!” There are a ton of ships for it, so maybe I won’t be able to keep that promise of not going crazy.

The reason that it doesn’t ultimately matter which set I got is that both sets come with the same types of ship models. A�There are two tie fighters and one X-wing. A�The box also comes with attack/defense dice, tokens, movement cards, and a rule book. A�You know, everything you’d expect in the box. A�It also has a learn to play book and a mission book. A�The game is very noob friendly and has a ton right out of the box to keep you playing even without spending money on the expansion ships. A�That’s good because those can get expensive.

Before we move on to the actual gameplay, I have a humorous (at least to me) story about my unboxing of the game. A�I’ve already told you most of what’s in the box. A�As I took each piece out, I gave it the obligatory “cool” or “neat” and the appropriate amount of attention. A�Look over the models for a few minutes after putting the tokens off to the side. A�Set aside the directions to read after inspecting the models. A�Then, “Oh wait, what’s this?” A�A book containing many of the other Fantasy Flight games? A�That’s interesting.

Interesting? A�I’ll say. A�I spent more time thumbing through the catalog and mentally making a list than anything else, the instructions included. A�I even texted Chris how excited I was to look through the catalog. A�I felt like a poor kid going window shopping at Christmas.

It’s almost as if they include the catalog intentionally to get people to buy more games….nah!

Okay, so maybe the story wasn’t that humorous, but you have to admit that it’s a bit silly that I spent money on this game and the thing that excited me most was the prospect of spending more money. A�Score one for the capitalist pigs!

Now, we’ve covered my background with the game and what’s in the box. A�All we have left to discuss is the actual gameplay. A�As mentioned, I don’t have extensive experience playing miniature games. A�Therefore, I don’t have anything to directly compare to the experience. A�However, I have read the rules to Hordes several times over, so I can more or less give an indirect comparison for those who have played those games. A�That will hopefully give you enough information to decide if the game is for you.

It is my understanding that X-Wing is a simpler and more streamlined version of a miniature game. A�I’m not sure how true that is becaues both Warhammer and Hordes have been working to simplify their rules. A�Still, there are only 4 defined phases in X-Wing and each of them requires only one or maybe 2 actions to resolve. A�Even when compared to an easier Hordes or Warhammer, X-Wing seems to be the more straight forward rules set. A�I know that we were able to finish two games in a half an hour to 45 minutes. A�I don’t think you can complete even one of those other games, let alone two in that time frame. A�I’m not saying that’s good or bad. A�I’m just trying to give an idea of what to expect. A�If you only have time for a quick game, X-Wing is the obvious choice.

I mean, look at that battlefield. It would take a half an hour simply to get through the move phase of all those troops!

So, the games are quick. A�But, are they fun? A�Spoiler alert: A�yes. A�that spoiled conclusion should come as no surprise. A�I liked the game enough to play it twice and then order it for myself and the boys. A�Yes, this game is a ton of fun.

The strategy element comes in right from the beginning of the turn because you have to anticipate your opponent’s movement and try to plan accordingly. A�Usually the first few turns are getting a feel for what the other player wants to do and use that to build your own plan. A�It is a game of cat and mouse that captures the feeling of discovering an enemy and initiating battle very well.

Once the feeling out process is completed and you settle into the main game, it is time to put that hard earned intel to the test. A�For the most part, I did well. A�There were a couple of times, though, that I made the wrong move. A�Being so new at the game, though, I can’t say which were mistakes on my part or whether my friend outmaneuvered me. A�I’m going to play again with the boys and try to keep track of the games better and the next game report will be more complete.

Until then, rest assured that the game is quick. A�It is fun. A�It is easy to pick up and play. A�It doesn’t require a huge time or money commitment simply to get all of the models set up. A�In short, it is the perfect way to get started in the hobby or take a break from the more grindy games.

Mine Wars

(Editor’s Note #1: A�We are reviewingA�Parzi’s Star Wars ModA�for this article. A�What? A�A genuine Editor’s note and not a lame joke? A�Well, they asked to be given credit in any article/video, so here it is.)

(Editor’s Note #2: A�You got Star Wars in my Minecraft. A�You got Minecraft in my Star Wars! A�Two great tastes that go great together? A�Ah, there’s the lame joke.)

This article will serve as a bridge between our current topic of Star Wars and our main topic of May, which is Minecraft. A�I wish that I could take credit for doing that on purpose. A�However, the truth is that it is a happy accident. A�I was simply looking for another Star Wars game to write an article to support the podcast and I remembered that I downloaded a Star Wars mod for Minecraft last year, but never played it. A�Well, as Bob Ross says, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

This accident certainly was happy. A�I made the same stupid joke in the editor’s note of my Lego Star Wars article as I did in this one. A�Sometimes a “mash up” of two different good things is a disaster. A�I’m looking at you, Glee. A�Most of the time, though, as long as the two things complement each other and care is taken to integrate the best of those things into the final product, the mash up can succeed and maybe even surpass the quality of the originals.

Seriously, Thriller is just about the perfect song. A�You dishonor your family by attempting to remix it.

As you read this review, bear in mind that I have only made it about an hour into playing through the mod. A�It’s been enough to discover two new types of dust, fuse them together, and smelt them into a new kind of ingot. A�Other than than, though, the rest of what I’ve done is normal Minecraft things. A�I haven’t even been able to use the new metal to craft any other new material. A�So, no, this mod has not enhanced Minecraft to a level beyond yet. A�It certainly is not something I’d play over Knights of the Old Republic, Battlefront, or even any of the Lego games.

I’m not saying that it won’t. A�I’m not even saying that it can’t A�In fact, I did a bit of searching to see if I could find any tips or hints for the mod to get me started. A�”Hey!” A�You might protest, “Minecraft is about exploration!” A�True. A�However, and my defense is two fold. A�First, I was exploring the Google Machine for assistance. A�Secondly, the console version has a tutorial to introduce you to the game. A�So, I feel vindicated from my Googling shame.

Besides, it’s not like I found anything. I think I need to take my phone to the Apple genius bar to get it checked out. The Google doesn’t work right.

So, while I have a life line out at the mod forum, I loaded it up in creative. A�The main problem is that I need a ship to use my hyperdrive in order to get to other planets. A�I’m not sure if I have to craft the ship or if I will find one that has spawned randomly. A�So, I created my own ship, used the hyperdrive, and went to Tatooine.

Okay, now this is more like it! A�There are sand people (and their signature roar!), Bantha, and pig men (not of the zombie variety)! A�That guy over there wants to make me a storm trooper! A�This guy doesn’t like me, either! A�That dude is selling ships! A�Wow, this is awesome! A�For the record, both Aiden and Quinn agree.

This is awesome!

I didn’t want to spoil too much of the mod before I’m able to do a video capture, so I shut down the game after that. A�However, I have an update on my forum inquiry. A�Apparently the first hyperdrive, the one that takes you to Tatooine, does not require a ship. A�Therefore, I am free to continue my exploration to find obsidian to make a nether portal and get a blaze rod. A�Because, the hyperdrive requires an Eye of Ender. A�I already have the Ender Pearl (because eff those creepy thieving freaks) and the ore (found a use for it!), so it’s diamond hunting time. A�Should be no problem because I usually have an uncanny ability to find diamonds. A�As with my Lego The Force Awakens Update, look for more of my adventures in the mod in a couple of weeks when we talk about Minecraft.

Happy little accident.

Bricks in Space!

(Editor’s Note: A�You got your Lego in my Star Wars! A�You got your Star Wars in my Lego! A�Two great tastes that taste great together? A�Actually, Lego taste gross, so, no.)

We are huge fans of both Star Wars and Lego here at 2 Generations Gaming. A�it stands to reason that we would be fans of the Lego Star Wars games. A�in fact, we are not. A�We find the games lacking in depth of story and character development. A�They are derivative and insulting to the source material. A�I would go as far as to say–I’m kidding. A�We love all of the Lego games. A�Since our topic on the podcast this week is Star wars, I will focus on them in this article. A�I promise that won’t be a problem. A�While I have played almost all of the Lego video games, I haven’t played any of them as extensively as the Star Wars ones.

In fact, the first game that I bought for the XBox 360 was the complete saga. A�That was even after having beaten the original trilogy on PS2. A�That was even in the face of a new, and in some ways, more interesting Lego game. A�Having purchased the “family” version of the XBox 360, it came with Kung Fu Panda and Lego Indiana Jones. A�Don’t get your knickers in a bunch. A�I’m not saying that I prefer either the Indiana Jones movies or games to Star Wars. A�However, I had already beaten the Star Wars games, so I should have wanted to play Indy to try to beat the game and increase my nerd cred.

I don’t need to prove myself to you or anyone.

However, nerd cred be damned! A�I game what I want! A�Also, I’m pretty sure that they boys really preferred Star Wars at the time. A�So, in the name of one of our founding principles, I played games with my kids. A�I think that I mentioned in past articles what a nightmare that was. A�Those first Lego games required both players to share the same space. A�You were not able to break free and explore on your own as you now can. A�Therefore, half of the game was spent trying to convince your young child that he was the one hindering your progress through the level. A�The rest of the time was figuring out how to manipulate both controllers to solve the puzzles that required cooperation and, often fine motor or logic skills not usually possessed by the average preschool aged child.

Granted, preschool kids have their own versions of Lego in Duplo and now Juniors, but what lame kid wants to play with Duplo? A�All the cool kids play with Lego and Duplo are just there to suck up even more money from well meaning parents and grandparents. A�Kids certainly aren’t going to play a Duplo themed video game. A�Can you imagine how lame it would be? A�The mind boggles.

Forget what the Lego movie says. These things will probably just fall apart for no good reason and end up shoved in the far corner of the playroom closet.

So, much of my exploration (such as it was in those days) and enjoyment of the first round of Lego Star Wars games happened alone when the kids were in bed. A�Imagine that. A�I went from Fatal Frame, Skyrim, Resident Evil, Fallout 3, and Dead Rising to trying to find that last mini kit piece in level 2 of The Empire Strikes Back. A�Having children changes you, Man.

However, I can’t blame my kids for the fact that this game led me to many years of purchasing and playing Lego video games. A�sure, I can say that I’m buying the games for the boys, but we all know the truth. A�Don’t get me wrong. A�I love sharing these things with others, especially my flesh and blood, but just like Power Rangers, Star Wars, and Marvel movies, I’m ultimately doing this for me and I have the boys for company because Christine wants nothing to do with any of it.

Some parents dress their kids in designer clothes. I got mine involved in nerdy hobbies. Both acts are equally likely to get them beat up.

My kids, though, they’ve gotten my appreciation for the finer things in nerd life. A�I didn’t even have to buy Lego The Force Awakens because Liam asked for it for Christmas. A�Honestly, I wasn’t even going to get the game. A�Or, maybe, I’d have just ordered it from Gamefly to try it out, because I was going to wait for all 3 of the movies to be released and then the combination game would come out at half of the price of the single versions. A�I haven’t played it yet, but Liam and Aiden have and they seem to have had fun with it. A�Maybe I will play it over the next few days and add an addendum to the article with any new opinion on the game itself or the additions to the game.

Because, of all the game series I’ve ever played, Lego games are the ones that improve with every new game that is released. A�They included the ability to free roam away from the other character. A�They allow you to purchase characters by bumping into them in the world instead of having to go to the screen to do so. A�Some of the improvements are significant. A�Some are simply cosmetic or quality of life improvements. A�However, all are improvements. A�So, I’ll have to see how The Force Awakens has changed the series.

To be continued…

Sorry, I usually hate those, too, but it’ll get you to tune in next time!

A Battle A Day Keeps the Vader Away

(Editor’s Note: A�Not that long ago, in my newly minted and cleaned play room.)

Like most males my age that identify strongly as geeks, I am a fan of Star Wars. A�relax, Trekkers, I have gained an appreciation for that series as well. A�It’s just that I grew up while the movies were being released, then re-released, then remastered, then “ruined”, and finally saved. A�Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the last step is occurring as my own children are of age to accompany me. A�Hmm, it’s almost as if it was planned that way.

Last article, I confessed one of my nerd crimes of not having seen Inception. A�In spite of my claim to make that right, I have still not yet watched it. A�Well, I come before you to lay bare my soul again and confess perhaps my greatest sin against nerddom. A�I don’t remember the first time I saw Star Wars.

I know! A�Shocking! A�Everyone always talks about their first time viewing the movie as a historical event that they remember and will for all time. A�Well, I don’t. A�I remember seeing it with my wife when it was re-released. A�I remember Empire vaguely. A�I obviously remember Return and the Rancor pit scene.

Okay, there are probably other reasons that I remember Jedi.

But, there is a gap in my childhood memories where “first time seeing Star Wars” should be. A�Maybe I was too young. A�Like, I would have been 4 or 5 when it came out. A�I wonder if Quinn will remember seeing Episode 7 when they inevitably re-release it for his generation. A�Still, this is supposed to be a childhood defining event, right? A�People continually talk about their experiences with the movie and how it propelled them to a lifetime of love for science fiction, etc. A�Clearly, it had a similar effect on me, but still I’m bothered by missing memory.

Okay, sin purged and soul cleansed, let’s talk some Battlefront. A�Now, in spite of being such a huge fan, I never got much into Star Wars games. A�Sure, I played Kotor and that led to a beta test of The Old Repubilc MMORPG that lasted longer than most people because I had friends in the game. A�Other than those, and Lego games, I pretty much avoided Star Wars games. A�That included Battlefront. A�That changed last Christmas. A�The boys got some Sims games, so I had to reinstall the Origin client on the computer. A�On of the sales–and I’m a sucker for sales–included Battlefront, so I bought it because the deal was so good.

So far, I have made it through the tutorial mode and two of the training missions. A�I have not played any of the coop stuff yet as I don’t have any friends on Origin and I don’t want to noob it up with strangers. A�I think that Kevin might have Origin, but he forgot his password or something. A�Who knows? A�Maybe this will inspire us to bring back our long planned but often delayed or cancelled game night. A�Stranger things have happened.

I don’t have an attempted funny caption for this one. It speaks for itself.

Until that happens, I’m stuck in single player purgatory unless I get brave enough to expose strangers to my own particular brand of noobery. A�As I don’t anticpate that happening any time soon, I will be saving and/or ruling the galaxy alone for the foreseeable future. A�Only 2 Sith are there ever, but apparently Noobs are doomed to a life of solitude. That’s actually not so bad, except I do miss having a regular gaming buddy.

So, what can I say about what I’ve played in the game? A�Well, being a Star Wars fan, I was hyped. A�That hype only increased when the Lucasfilm logo appeared on the screen followed by the iconic theme song. A�I clicked through, though, so I don’t know f there’s a scroll or not. A�However, once the menu loaded, it started the Imperial march. A�And, so, I ended up humming the march on my way to dinner because that’s when my wife announced that it was done. A�And I spent all of dinner with the song running through my head and making me more excited to play the game.

After dinner, I rushed back upstairs to finally get my journey started. A�I figured I’d start with the tutorial because I’m not called Noob of All Trades for nothing. A�And this is…an FPS? A�Really? A�That’s not at all what I expected and more than a little disappointing. A�Well, the sooner I can get this done, the sooner I can play other and better games.

Oh, wait, what’s this? A�Princess Leia is going to talk me through the mission? A�Well, that’s…wait, I don’t think that’s Princess Leia. A�Is it? A�No, I’m pretty sure it’s not her voice. A�Oh well, I will still see it through to the end. A�If the rest of the missions are FPS, I’ve wasted my money. A�Damn you, sales! A�Wait, what was that? A�”Good job!” Fake Leia encourages me after jumping up a snow bank. A�Maybe this game will be worth it after all. A�The only thing that would make it better was if it was an achievement, too. A�Heck, I need that kind of support in real life.

“Way to go! A�You got out of bed this morning!”

“Super job on those groceries!”

But, I digress. A�The tutorial progresses as you’d expect. A�You walk to a place, shoot a droid, walk to the next place, shoot another droid, find a weapon upgrade, walk to the final place and obliterate a droid. A�Okay, that was damn cool, too. A�I’m still not sure about this whole FPS thing, but it ended up being a relatively fun tutorial level.

I also played through a training level where you dog fight tie fighters as an X-wing. A�That was so much fun and much more what I was expecting from the game. A�Quinn got a kick out of me crashing my X-wing into the mountain the first time I played the level and he kept saying to me, “Don’t crash, Daddy!” A�He was like my fake Leia voice of encouragement through this level. A�I only had one complaint about the level. A�It was too repetitive and about one wave too long in my opinion. A�By the end, I was done flying and wanted to try something else.

The something else was also a first person level, but it was the level where Darth Vader and the Emperor are attempting to take over the rebel Hoth base. A�This level was entirely too much fun. A�You could force choke, throw your lightsaber at the rebels and it gave you the feeling of being Darth Vader. A�I say that the Arkham A�games are the closest thing to being Batman. A�Well, this level was very similar as far as Darth Vader goes.

Feel the power of the dark side, rebel scum!

Overall, I recommend the game if you’ve somehow avoided playing it until now. A�The graphics are very good. A�The voices are not the actual voices, but they are close enough from what I could hear. A�The levels are actually varied. A�However, some of them are a bit too long, or maybe it was just my feeling about that X-wing level. A�I would have to play more to see if that thought persisted. A�Other than that, this is a great game and worth your time and money. A�Go, get it, now!

Good Morning, Dagobah!

(Editor’s Note: A�We have no idea if we are officially out of spoiler range for the new Star Wars movie. A�To be perfectly honest, we don’t care all that much about spoilers here. A�We are of the opinion that if you can’t enjoy entertainment that’s been spoiled, then perhaps it wasn’t all that entertaining. A�Besides, the movie has been out for more than a month now. A�If you haven’t seen it by now and care at all about spoilers, then you get what you deserve. A�With all of that being said, if you continue to read from this point forward, there are major spoilers to the movie.)

Kylo Ren, real name Ben (most likely named by his Uncle Luke Skywalker in honor of Obi Wan Kenobi) Solo (because he is the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa) kills his father in an attempt to complete his transformation to the Dark Side. A�I warned you. A�Enjoy the following funny SNL bit as a peace offering. A�Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can talk about the rest of the movie. A�Don’t worry, we’ll come back to Han and his angry, angry son later.

I already gave my first impressions of the movie right after we saw it. A�If you read that article, you know that I enjoyed it very much. A�Half of it was nostalgia, half of it was watching it through the eyes of my own children, and the most important third half of it was being able to introduce this universe to my father in law. A�I’ve since had some time to ponder the movie more. A�You probably think that means that the glow has since faded and that I’m now going to write about how the movie is not as good as I first thought. A�Well, you’re partially right. A�As time passes, the glow naturally fades and it might sound like I’m bashing the movie, but I’m not. A�The internet has just created this environment in which you can’t criticize anything without being a hater. A�Know, then, that I still enjoy this movie, want to see it again and thank it for saving the franchise from the better taste of the prequels. A�And, I’m one of the few who kind of enjoyed Episodes I-III. A�Imagine the people who thought the movies were the cinematic equivalent of being warmed inside of a Tauntaun and how relieved they are that a good Star Wars movie was made before they died.

Or, should I say, remade. A�How’s that for a segue into my first criticism? A�As with all of them, it is a minor complaint and one that can be easily explained. A�Nevertheless, I should discuss the good and the bad. A�Maybe I should take a bad news/good news approach to the article. A�Seems like the best way to write it. A�That way I can avoid the inevitable internet accusation of drinking the haterade. A�Besides, honestly, no matter how much I complain, I did enjoy the movie very much.

Honestly, though, I'm not even sure who drinks this stuff.  It tastes like burning.
Honestly, though, I’m not even sure who drinks this stuff. It tastes like burning.

Still, always bad news first. A�From the opening scent of the movie, when the giant star destroyer flew across the screen, I felt that there was something familiar about this movie. A�It’s not just because they decided to bring everyone back, either. A�We all knew that was going to happen. A�Also, I’m not the only one who thought this. A�I’ve spoken to several friends who had the same reaction. A�Okay, enough rationalizing, let’s look at the evidence.

  • The aforementioned star destroyed sets the stage for nostalgia. A�I thought, “Wow, that’s just like the beginning of Episode IV.”
  • A cute droid carries information that is vital to the good guys.
  • A black masked and cloaked villain with an altered voice. A�This one is explained in the movie through storytelling, but still suspect at first. A�Kylo Ren idolizes his grandfather and wants to be just like Darth Vader, so there’s your explanation.
  • An unspectacular protagonist from a desert planet ends up being extremely important to the fate of the galaxy.
  • There is some mystery regarding this protagonist’s life story.
  • This progtagonist becomes the protege of a former scoundrel turned wiser old man who clearly knows more than he’s saying.
  • The past catches up to the old man on several occasions forcing him to reconcile with that past. A�He still does not reveal the whole truth, however.
  • There is a power struggle for the second in command of the dark side army.
  • The good guys have a critical meeting inside of a cantina on a planet in the far reaches of the galaxy. A�At least this cantina is not on the same planet that the protagonist lives.
  • This group, known as the New Order, have built a planet sized space vessel capable of destroying planets.
  • The good guys are a rag tag bunch that happens to have some of the best pilots. A�They destroy the so called “Starkiller” by finding and exploiting it’s single weakness against impossible odds.
  • The wise old guru is murdered by someone close to him in front of his friends who are all powerless to help him.
  • The protagonist and antagonist fight to a stand still as the battle to destroy “Starkiller” rages around them, concluding as the vessel begins to tear itself apart.
  • The protagonist finds a wise old Jedi master on a remote planet surrounded by water. A�Okay, so this one is more Episode V, but movies are also slightly longer on average than in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

In case all of that wasn’t obvious enough, my main complaint is that the movie is nearly an exact retelling of Episode IV. A�Okay, now for the excuse making. A�I will rebrand it as the good news after the bad news. A�First, they had to reintroduce the series for several reasons. A�One, I mentioned that I mostly enjoyed the prequels. A�Many others, to put it mildly, did not. A�In less sugar coated terms, most, by a wide margin, fans hated it with the fire of a thousand Starkiller beams. A�There is so much more for nerds in pop culture these days that fans might have abandoned Star Wars altogether for Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, or any one of the Marvel series on TV or Netflix. A�What better way to get fans back into it than by going back to where it all started and reboot the story as well as support.

solo-foot-1
I know, Captain Solo. I’m just as shocked as you that Star Wars nerds would turn their backs on the movies. But, it’s not the 1970s and 1980s anymore and the prophecies have come true. Nerds rule and jocks drool.

Two, those of us who have been there all along are getting old. A�It is harder to get us to buy the tie in merchandise, other than the video games. A�If those old farts are anything like me, they brought family and friends to the movie. A�My kids have already seen the original movies, but my other guest hadn’t. A�Perhaps by introducing them with a proper introduction, they are more likely to get hooked and revisit those first movies. A�Even if they don’t, they’re in now. A�They finally have a Star Wars that they can call their own. A�See, it’s a legitimate complaint, but one that makes sense if you just think about it.

Back to bad news. A�I talked about the final battle in the list of similarities A�Kylo Ren battles against Rey (the lead protagonist mentioned in that same list) after fighting against Finn (who I haven’t even mentioned yet and it’s not because I’m racist, which is exactly what a racist would say. A�Damn. A�Moving on.) and mortally wounding or killing him. A�After having just watched the movie, I discussed it with my cousin. A�I brought up that I felt it a little strange, and even a little convenient, that someone who had studied as a Jedi and then in the dark side for who knows how long lost to a woman who only hours earlier picked up a light saber for the first time. A�True, there is some ambiguity surrounding Rey’s history and parentage, but I still made the point to him. A�He replied, “Well, Kylo was shot in the side.” which is a plot development that I had overlooked in my excitement. A�That is actually a great explanation, Skywalker spawn or not. A�There are other inconsistencies like that, but that one bothered me the most.

Okay, Kylo, I guess you get a pass.  Being shot in the side might prove to be a bit of a distraction from your epic lightsaber battle.
Okay, Kylo, I guess you get a pass. Being shot in the side might prove to be a bit of a distraction from your epic lightsaber battle.

Even so (good news), the inconsistencies aren’t as glaring as the original trilogy that could have been explained by the prequels, but were actually made worse in many cases. A�Add in the silly tinkering that he did when rereleasing the original movies and those things are an absolute mess now.

Other than those two minor complaints–that can honestly be made about any movies and especially sequels that have made it to the 7th movie, I enjoyed it and cannot wait for the next one. A�As soon as we left the theater and sat in the restaurant waiting for our pizza, I searched on the tablet to find the release date for Episode VIII. A�I was genuinely upset that we would have to wait another year and a half (now moved to two years) for the movie to be released. A�In our video on demand, binge-watching society, that is an eternity. A�Hopefully spoilers start showing up soon and I can at least find out if my theories are correct.

Until then, I suppose I still have some Clone Wars to watch. A�There is also the new series Rebels and I have to show my father in law the first six movies. A�There is the machete order to try there. A�Maybe I will see this one again. A�There is plenty of Star Wars fun to keep me busy until Christmas 2017.

Good news? A�There’s less than 700 days as I write this.

Bad news? A�There’s almost 700 days as I write this.

I feel the same feels, Pepe.  That's why you always lead with the bad news.  It's better to end on a good note.
I feel the same feels, Pepe. That’s why you always lead with the bad news. It’s better to end on a good note.