Couch Podtatoes Episode 14: Anook Interview

This week in lieu of a typical show format I somehow conned Lonrem, the lead community manager for the website Anook.com, to do an interview with me. Due to some scheduling issues, J3w3l was unable to make the interview, but she’s always in our thoughts :D I ask Lonrem a bunch of questions, and he gives a bunch of answers. I feel like I learned something in the process, so hopefully if you haven’t heard of Anook or were unsure about what it is, you will learn something too.

Secondly, at the end of the show I make an important community announcement, so if you’re a blogger that’s been affilliated with the NBI, participated in Blaugust, or maybe missed out on some of these types of events, you should check that out. Further information to follow here soon, so stay tuned.

Enjoy the show.

Download

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Listen to Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 14: Anook Interview (runtime: 40:22)

Anook interview: (starts at 0:56)
Community Talk: Bragtoberfest (starts at 38:05)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Community Spotlight:
Bragtoberfest

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Some Wobbles” by Ephixia (from the album “Monstercat 2011″)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at http://couchpodtatoes.libsyn.com/. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming

The Forest 0.07

Another new patch dropped for the Forest this week, which is still in an Alpha state. More new features, no news on co-op. I’m sad, but apparently I’m part of the problem. It seems that if you go onto the community page via Steam you’ll see various discussions about the game and whether or not it should have co-op. The people who are against it site games like Resident Evil, which were scary and intense as single player games, but have been “dumbed down” with co-op (essentially saying anything after RE4 is crap). I can see the point, as I remember feeling more tension in the first couple of games, but I absolutely LOVED having the co-op option in RE5 & 6. Sure, the games were more action than horror, but it still had most of the hallmarks of the series. Not only that, series have to evolve otherwise gamers complain that it’s the same old shit. But, since The Evil Within’s creator is the same guy who started with Resident Evil (and TEW is going to be single player only), these co-op naysayers take it as a sign that co-op is what ruined Resident Evil. I find that hard to believe. I’ll admit, some of the posters are coming up with stupid ideas for multiplayer that would turn The Forest into a completely different game, but that’s not to say that co-op wouldn’t have a place. Besides, wouldn’t co-op be an option? That would mean people against it could avoid it completely, just like #thecalmforest allows you to avoid the scary parts of the game altogether. I guess people just need a reason to complain. If co-op never comes, I would be disappointed but I wouldn’t spend my time on a forum complaining about it. I can still enjoy the single player experience, and it keeps getting better all the time. Rant off, here’s the notes:

Version 0.07 Changelog:
  • Rock holder blueprint added
  • Moveable log holder blueprint added
  • Mid sized cabin blueprint added
  • Tree house blueprint added
  • Working door added to custom build doorway
  • Male version of skinny mutant added
  • New animal added: Tortoise
  • New animal added: Racoons!
  • Animal numbers will go down over time if you kill a lot of them. Will eventually slowly repopulate
  • Different animal types now stay around specific parts of world
  • Weapon balancing, all weapons will be slower when holding an item in left hand (Lighter, walkman etc) faster when held with both hands. New slower axe anim in combat.
  • More accurate weapon collider sizes, small axe smaller, stick bigger etc
  • You can now catch rabbits and place them into the rabbit cage
  • Better previous weapon switching system
  • Improved blueprint placement, items will now turn red and be unplaceable if intersecting trees
  • New rock attack animation, more powerful, uses more stamina
  • Cave’s now only contain blue skinned enemies and distorted mutants
  • Better combat theme
  • Better lake theme
  • Fixed peaceful mode (was accidentally broken in last update)
  • Further improved enemy pacing over time, fixed bug that could cause enemies to vanish over time
  • Energy now replenishes faster when sitting on bench
  • More small props added
  • Switching weapons whilst holding molotov will no longer cause it to drop
  • Sound effects added for adding sticks/logs and rocks to storage
  • Whoosh sound added when items moved around inventory
  • Fixed molotov pieces bouncing around causing fire to move in strange ways
  • Fire now scales with amount of fuel
  • Plants now burn for longer
  • Trees will tumble over if burnt now and added new burning material with embers
  • Tree leaves will now burn away correctly when on fire
  • Energy bar now flashes when playing music to make clear that your stamina is getting a boost
  • Crafting info pages unlocked in survival book (rough, missing lots of items)
  • Fixed bug where you could get infinite flares by dropping flare gun and picking it up again
  • Fixed bug where day count could change when entering/exiting caves
  • Fixed yellow axe mesh not visible when equipped
  • Terrain texture and shape improvements
  • Fires can now cook an unlimited amount of items, food will be placed at random location on fire
  • Fixed bug where you could sometimes get infinite sticks/rocks in inventory
  • Arrows should now work more effectively against enemies
  • Visible lizard skin armour!

I like what they’re doing with the tweaking of systems, finding ways to make the game more immersive and realistic feeling (animal populations bit). It looks like the biggest addition though, comes from being able to build a treehouse and other goodies that might help you to carry supplies around. I don’t really see how much help a treehouse would be in the end though, as the cannibals climb trees rather effortlessly. I’m going to try to get in game and test this out soon, so more to come.

#theforest #patchnotes #earlyaccess

TellTale Binge

Here in Southern California, we’re in the middle of a heatwave. Triple digits for the last few days, and from forecasts I’ve seen, that’s to continue until the weekend. The house I’m in doesn’t have central air, so the swamp cooler does what it can, but it’s really not enough. My computer is suffering as much as I am, as it’s only air cooled (no fancy water cooling system), and as a result I was reaching almost-critical limits just idling. As a result, I’m not really able to game on my computer until it’s late enough to cool off a bit. I mean it’s 9 p.m. at night and it’s barely dropped below 90 degrees outside.

So I’ve been staying away from the computer mostly. This has given me the ability to catch up on my PS3 backlog (which is actually worse than my PC backlog). I have too many games that I’ve started but not finished, and others not even touched that I picked up during sales. Back in April there was a flash sale on PSN in which I netted several games for $1 each, and there were three TellTale titles on that list. You all know I’m a fan of the company, you can read up on my play-thrus of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead over here if you missed those. The titles I got on sale were the Tales From Monkey Island, Back to the Future: The Game and Jurassic Park: The Game. I’m the type of person who will typically go through games in a chronological order if I can help it (and I just listed them in the proper order), so of course I started with Monkey Island.

Here’s the twist: I actually started playing this one back in April. I was used to the newer format of TellTale games, being sort of “on-rails” and having QTE’s and “important” decisions to make. Monkey Island is nothing like that. I mean, yes, you control your character in a similar way and there are dialogue choices, but it’s more adventure game than interactive story. I’m going to also put myself out there by saying that I am not a fan of the IP. I never played any of the “classic” Monkey Island games, I’m not overly obsessed with pirates, and really I just don’t care for the storyline. I was also in the frame of mind that these games would be “easy plats,” in that they would be walk-in-the-park games to pad my trophy level, so I figured I could overlook the things I didn’t like just to say I played them. Turns out none of the games have a Platinum trophy, and all have missable ones. With Monkey Island, there was just too much about it that I didn’t like, so it was uninstalled and I moved on.

Picking back up in the present, I started playing Back to the Future. Going into it knowing the differences between it and modern TellTale games actually helped. I knew I’d probably miss trophies, and I knew it wouldn’t play exactly how I’d expect. I didn’t care. And I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not going to say that the Back to the Future movies changed my life, but I have seen them all and they were rather enjoyable. The game is basically a mixture of all the tropes from the movies, and the constant back and forth between time eras is rather entertaining. There aren’t QTE’s but the puzzles are easier to figure out especially because when you get stuck there is a hint system to help you out. Parts were annoying, just because if you do something wrong you have to watch full animations and dialogue to get back to where you can try again. However, the overall appeal of the game wasn’t lost, annoyance aside. There aren’t any major choices to make, just puzzles to solve so this is more adventure game as well, but probably the first I’d consider to be part of the “new crowd” of TellTale games. You can see the development process evolving between Monkey Island and this game. I’d recommend BTTF to Walking Dead/Wolf Among Us fans. They should be able to stomach it. The ending was a kicker too, and you’d think there would have been a second season, but it seems they didn’t really do that much before Walking Dead, aside from the Sam and Max series.

I started playing Jurassic Park today. The further evolution of TellTale’s style is on full display, sort of bridging the gap between this game and The Walking Dead (they’re only separated by a few months). In Jurassic Park, you aren’t in control of only one character, you take turns playing as many. It’s still on rails and you don’t get much choice as to what happens, but you sometimes play the bad guy, the hero, his daughter, some mercs, and probably more I haven’t seen yet. Also, instead of being able to freely move around areas, they introduced a system where you press a button to show options for different places you can go, and then you automatically move there. This is also how you switch between characters who are in separate spots. QTE’s are in full force in this one, and it seems to be a bit on the overkill side, because some are ridiculous, and with the way the game moves from scene to scene, sometimes input lag will fuck you. It seems that some trophies are based on being able to get through these flawlessly, along with making it through whole episodes without dying. Needless to say, I have missed trophies. Still, I like having the QTE’s as it adds to the tension, whereas the previous games were kind of boring at times. The storyline feels a lot like the story from the original movie, though Hammond (the old dude with the hat/beard) is already long gone (at least to the point I’m at) and you don’t see any other main characters from the movie. It does split away from the movie timeline rather quickly, I just thought it was odd that they chose to use that. I’m guessing it means that it’s all happening at the same time as the movie’s story. I’m ready to start the 3rd episode (of 4), so I’ll probably finish the game up by tomorrow.

Overall, The Walking Dead is still my favorite game from the studio, with The Wolf Among Us a close second. Still, if you happen to catch these other titles on sale, they’re worth the few hours of enjoyment. Besides Monkey Island. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. I’ve been prodded by J3w3l that I’m supposed to be playing Sam & Max, but as it’s older and an IP that I have no interest in, I’m guessing I wouldn’t be into it. Next stop, Tales From the Borderlands and Game of Thrones: Iron From Ice.

#telltale #jurassicpark #backtothefuture

State of the Game: The Usual Suspects

It’s half-time of the Packers game, so I thought I’d take the time to write up this column. This week I played many of the usual games, and one new title. So let’s get right into it, shall we?

Solo Adventures:

I’ve been plugging away on my Tauren Paladin. Thalimoos is now level 28, and has had to actually skip over some of the solo content. After blowing through the Tauren starting areas, I moved through to Ogrimmar and chose to play through Azshara rather than the Barrens. This lead me around the zone and into Ashenvale. I had some interesting adventures in the zone, but it was cut short, as I was already level 25 when I entered the zone, and it’s supposed to top out at that level. Apparently doing ALL of the quests in a zone and not even bothering with dungeons or PvP causes you to outlevel everything. Here’s some shots of my time in the zone, and then we’ll move on:

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Since everything was getting outleveled, I figured out that the next stop on my trip should be in the Stonetalon Mountains. I picked up the starter from Ogrimmar, and then ran through the zones grabbing all the flight paths along the way. I did take some time out to try a battleground (Warsong Gulch), my first time with WoW PvP:

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I think I did alright, nothing spectacular, but my team did end up winning. Most of my deaths came from being last man standing and getting ganged up on.

Instance Group:

On Friday, the weekly Undead instance group reconvened, and we managed to run 7 dungeons in one sitting. It was a blast. We ended up having to do some of the dungeons more than once, and the random gear coming out of the bonus satchels was garbage, but I did end up with a nice staff upgrade along with finally getting a piece of head gear. It’s rather silly looking, but whatever, I has headgear.

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More shots of the dungeon crawling night:

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Other Games:

Me and Doone picked up where we left off on our game of Civilization V. It took us a few turns to remember what we were doing, but it came back easily enough. I had decided it was time to muscle Arabia off of our island, and in the process we razed two of their towns. We also destroyed on of the city-states allied with them, who wouldn’t stop with harrassment. After we pushed Arabia back, I started expanding to take over resources, when Genghis Khan decided he wanted a taste too. He and Dido allied, and they both set up cities on our banks. I had just heavily invested in an air force, so I quickly bombed and depleted Khan’s city. Dido still had a foothold in the north near Arabia’s remaining cities, but we are fortified and apparently nearing the turn limit for the game. Our score is way ahead of the competition, so I believe that we’ll just play things out and win it all based on score. I don’t like winning that way, but I’m also not the one who set up the game (next time, no turn limit Doone! :P). Later on I was browsing the Steam Workshop for the game, and decided to try out some mods, because why not? I ended up getting a package of Middle-Earth mods that changed the game quite a bit, but it ended up feeling a little hollow. I know there are other mods on there, so I might try out some others, or just stick with the regular game. Mods are cool when they do it right, but sometimes they seem kind of pointless.

Lastly, I got started with a game series that I hadn’t ever played. I remember hearing about it, but just never got around to playing it. The game in question? F.E.A.R. I’m not going to go into much detail here because I’m going to save it for a new playthrough series, as I played for a bit and got a lot of great screen shots. Here’s a teaser, but be on the lookout for more regarding this game in the future:

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It’s a lot of fun for being almost ten years old already. Spooky too. Anyway, that’s all for this week. Til next time.

#wow #worldofwarcraft #civ5 #FEAR

2014 Week 2 Preview

It’s no secret that the Packers got creamed by the Seahawks last week, in the season opener. I had my doubts about winning, but at the same time I had faith that the game would be closer than it ended up being. Thankfully that was only the first game of the season, and not the playoffs. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the Seahawks (or 49ers) won’t be there to ruin our party this year. I think that was the biggest challenge of the season until playoff time, so hopefully we start wrecking face from here on out. The Jets are a tough opponent, they have had their way with us in the past, though our last meeting was a shut out in their house. I know the Pack doesn’t want to start out 0-2, especially in a home game, so I’m thinking this is a Win situation. The official site is doing these infographics again this year, so here’s one with some interesting stats about home field openers:

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I’m ready for some football. Are you?

#greenbaypackers #nfcnorth #gopackgo #infographic