jdodson1

Joined 01/23/2012

I'm an Engineer and built the video game community Cheerful Ghost and text based mini-MMO Tale of the White Wyvern.

2691 Posts

Magic The Gathering is a classic collectable card game that continues to be the most popular of it's kind. Even during COVID it's more popular than ever and in 2019 Wizards of the Coast launched Magic The Gathering Arena to pitch the game in a new way to compete digitally with other digital card games such as Hearthstone and Gwent. I've tried earlier incarnations of Magic the Gathering in a digital form and found them to be severely lacking in that the user experience made the game a chore to play. Magic the Gathering Arena takes the Magic ruleset and streamlines the experience to make the game more accessible. I'm not an Magic expert so I'm not aware if any rules were changed in the digital form but it feels like the whole Magic experience.

Magic the Gathering Arena is free to play and as such I think folks should be wary that it might fall into the trapping of more modern free to play predatory game leanings. For instance, as someone that played Hearthstone in it's original form all the way through and then left due to the game becoming more focused on needing to buy packs, Magic Arena feels more than fair if you want to play for free. Right away Magic drops you into a set of tutorial modes that familiarize you with the base game such that you can earn a pretty solid deck for each color. After that you can play quests to earn gold to buy packs and unlock dual color decks that offer you even more ways to play. Right now I have 7 decks they have given me for free and seem to be able to unlock more as I play the game. I imagine you could construct even more decks from the free cards you get too, but as a Magic newb I'm not sure i'd have great results with that yet.

If you want to checkout Magic Arena it recently came to mobile on iOS, Android and you can also play it on PC and Mac on the Epic Game Store. Not only can you unlock a hefty amount of free decks but right now you can use the code PLAYDnD to unlock 3 new packs from the Dungeons & Dragons meets Magic in the Forgotten Realms expansion.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/mtgarena-welcome


Recently Hungry Goriya reviewed the classic Wisdom Tree NES game Spiritual Warfare. Spiritual Warfare is a Zelda clone where a Christian Warrior takes on the evil spirits in their community and eventually goes to Hell and kills the Devil. I grew up Christian and my parents wanted me to be exposed to games with a more Christian focus so they bought me Spiritual Warfare in thick of the classic NES era. I played this game constantly as a kid so much so that I had every secret memorized and could be the game start to finish in a handful of hours. Spiritual Warfare is one of the better Zelda clones on the NES and where it's not revolutionary the items and zones are fairly memorable.

The Angry Video Game Nerd dedicated an episode to Wisdom Tree games and I felt his light focus on Spiritual Warfare did the game a dis-service. Is the game ham-fisted with it's Christian message and how you approach evil in your community? Oh yeah! Is it kind of funny and incredible at the same time? Very much. I'd say Spiritual Warfare exudes some of the best qualities likened to some of the best "bad films" in that it's earnestly doing it's thing while nearly satire in itself. I'm not approaching my genuine love of this game in any ironic way, I really enjoy this game and embrace it for it's very earnest pitch and also enjoy thinking about it's message from a more modern perspective.


Steam Deck is Valve’s latest hardware announcement that looks to put a PC in everyone’s hands. Similar to the Switch, Valve is building a handheld that runs Steam + Linux and looks to allow users the ability to play their Steam library and install whatever else they want including Windows. Steam Deck comes in three SKU’s and is available for pre-order right now with a $5 initial deposit.

I’m not quite sure if I’ll buy one in the end, but I’ve already pre-ordered the 3rd option (faster storage and anti-glare screen). For quite some time I’ve been very interested in Valve consoles and for someone to make a big play in the PC space with a handheld and this seems like it might be it.

Looks like Steam Deck will start shipping later in the year and I’m curious what everyone thinks about it?

https://store.steampowered.com/steamdeck


The Summer Games Done Quick charity speedrun has begun and if you love watching people play videos games fast and supporting incredible charities, this for you. You know, even if that might not sound like it’s your thing I’d recommend clicking the play button above to give a random speedrun a few minutes.

Summer Games Done Quick donations go to support Doctors Without Borders which is a fantastic charity that brings medical help to the places in the world that are in need. So if you have a few minutes to watch some fun runs and a few bucks to chip in make sure you do!

Summer Games Done Quick runs from July 4th - 10th.

https://gamesdonequick.com/
https://www.twitch.tv/gamesdonequick
https://gamesdonequick.com/tracker/ui/donate/35


During Nintendo's E3 Nintendo Direct we got word of a few Zelda game bits most notably Breath of the Wild 2 is coming next year and Nintendo will release a Zelda game and watch this November. If you remember I picked up the Super Mario Bros. Game and Watch and love it. Do I have Super Mario Bros. already? Yeah, yeah of course, but it's fun to get old games in new forms and I never had the old Mario Game and Watch so why not this one? Apparently Nintendo wanted to do one better in that the Zelda Game and Watch which seems to take the original concept and kick up a few notches. Not only does it come with The Legend of Zelda but also The Adventure of Link and the original Link's Awakening. This is an incredible lineup and surprising as I really only expected The Legend of Zelda would be present. Including three classic games raises the value of this but they are keeping the price tag firm at $50.

Many of the pre-orders are all sold out but I hope Nintendo re stocks these as everyone that wants one should really be able to buy it without going through resellers.

https://www.nintendo.com/products/detail/game-and-watch-the-legend-of-zelda/

"Play The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Game Boy Version), and a special Game & Watch edition of VERMIN (Link Version)! It also has a playable clock and timer!"


With Sony not involved in E3 this year as well as the continuing effects of COVID have caused this years event to be very different. E3 always seemed to be overstuffed with gaming news but with this one it seems like all the announcements have been at a sustainable clip. E3 always felt like a fire hose and this year it's more like a fun lawn sprinkler that's out in the yard just the right amount of time. I'm going to lightly cover some fun bits and if you saw something you wanted to mention, drop it in the comments.

Halo Infinite

I'm not sure how, but Halo Infinite multiplayer looks a bit more interesting than the brief single player they showed. I'm still quite excited that Halo Infinite ships with free multiplayer on PC and XBox at launch. I'm not entirely sure what game modes multiplayer will support but it seems there will be a form of capture the flag at a minimum. Another fun aspect of the free to play multiplayer is that since it's free to play on XBox that won't require a Gold or Games Pass subscription to play(yay me).

Starfield

The Microsoft + Bethesda event started out with the reveal of Starfield and the new release date of November 11th 2022. I'm not quite sure what the game will be about but it was a fun trailer and if the actual game looks like that we'll all be in for a treat. Not only will Starfield drop by next years end but Microsoft mentioned it's a PC + XBox exclusive. We all knew when Microsoft bought Bethesda that this meant many of the games would be XBox exclusives and it looks like each new game will be. That said, with the quite low cost of owning a Series S and Games Pass I wonder if it really matters to everyone?

Bethesda Will Not Quit Fallout 76

I'm happy to say that Fallout 76 looks to be getting two new expansions featuring Steel Dawn and The Pitt. Fallout 76 had a somewhat rocky launch but Bethesda has continued to work on it and it's grown to have a fairly large community. I plan on picking it up on the XBox this holiday season on sale and if anyone has any suggestions on which version to get let me know.

Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

Ubisoft revealed Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope which is a new entry in the real time strategy Mario + Rabbids series. I picked up the original Mario + Rabbids game and found the actual real time strategy game play to be incredible. I didn't like the overworld part very much as it felt like a bad version of a Mario game and I just wanted to race to the next strategy fight. The new game looks to feature the same overworld maps and hopefully this time around the over-worlding is a bit more fun.

Microsoft is Game Pass

Which each game Microsoft showed at its press event it seemed it was a day one Game Pass game. Microsoft also noted that for quite some time, Game Pass subscribers would get a new Game Pass game launching. I imagine Microsoft will license other titles along the way making Game Pass an incredibly good deal in gaming. When each new game can cost from $60-$120 depending on which version you buy, Game Pass seems like a steal. I haven't really spent a lot of serious time considering getting Game Pass but it seems like such an incredible value it seems hard to avoid.

We still have a few days left of E3 and I haven't quite watched every stream or read every press release so if you found something interesting let me know in the comments!


While it's not currently the biggest online multiplayer game out there right now (PUBG Anyone?) Fortnite is still going quite strong. When Microsoft allowed multiplayer for free to play games to not require an XBox Gold membership Fortnite was the first game I downloaded. Frankly, in 4K 120fps, playing Fortnite on XBox is the best way to play it. The game on the Series X is so smooth and lag free it feels like a massive upgrade and with the enhanced visuals the game whole experience can be quite serene. So much so that playing Fortnite in the mornings or at night has become a kind of meditation.

Hey friend, things are hard out there but playing a game where you jump out of a bus and parachute far away from the fray is the ticket! Feel like everyone is against you? Well friend in Fortnite Battle Royale they really are but you have a sporting chance and while you are searching for guns and shields you can stop to look at the trees or listen to the birds chirp. Need to swim through a river or lake to stalk someone to snipe them from behind? Enjoy the fresh dip in the water, emerge on the other side and shoot them in the back of the head! Then look to your left and catch a butterfly!

I'm not saying everyone plays Fortnite this way or that it's even the best way to play it. That said, it's nice to stop and catch a butterfly or listen to birds even if 100 other people want to kill you as fast as possible.

Note: I tried to find a simple video of someone walking through Fortnite Battle Royale quietly but didn't find anything so this Fortnite / Enya video was the best I could find. You're welcome!


Recently Microsoft announced a price increase on XBox Gold, the service that allows folks to play games online. Due to the overwhelmingly negative response Microsoft kept the pricing as it was and did one more in that they said they would allow free online multiplayer for all free to play games. Put another way, you can play games like Warframe and Fortnite for free without having to pay for XBox Games Pass or XBox Gold. As someone that recently bought an XBox Series X that doesn't have Games Pass or Gold this is a very welcome change. Feels like I'm getting an upgrade for just having an XBox. I'm well aware the PC versions of these games allow free online multiplayer and Nintendo allows Fortnite as the free lone exception on the Switch of games that don't require a paid sub for online multplayer but XBox has been requiring Gold for online since it's inception so this is a very cool change.

Still seems odd to me that I paid for the Halo collection and then need to pay again for online multiplayer but for now, this is a very welcomed upgrade. I can see a world where a lot of people get an XBox to play the raft of incredible free to play games and Microsoft just made the prospect that much better.

One thing I'm wondering is that since Halo Infinite's multiplayer will be free to play, this means new Halo won't require Gold right? Seems like it, but you never know until it happens as Halo multiplayer has been behind the paywall. If new Halo multiplayer is incredible and also free to play I think this could open up a fun option for everyone to enjoy some shootery action for a fun price on PC and XBox.

For an exhaustive list of all the games you can play online multiplayer for free on xbox click the link below:

https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2021/04/21/online-multiplayer-free-to-play-games-unlocked/
https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/31/21349236/halo-infinite-multiplayer-free-to-play-120fps-rumors


New Marvel trailer so ... you know... here it is! This time for an entirely new set of phase four characters. Phase Four of the MCU features a lot of new characters and Shang-Chi seems to start that out with a fun chop to the face. I’m not sure how this fits into the larger MCU but something, something evil dark magic that somehow things with a character and something something cameo with existing something or other from the MCU. If that’s entirely too specific, sorry I don’t have a whole lot to go on but the trailer looks fun and I’m sure I’ll check this out when I can.

One question I’ve heard folks ask is why all these powerful folks weren’t part of the battle against Thanos? If they were around and powerful, why not show up to the brawl? I’m sure there is a reasonable explanation but until we can see we’ll just have to wonder.


Back this on Kickstarter!
Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the greatest show of all time. At least to me and a zillion other MSTIE's and the show is back with a new Kickstarter after being cancelled by Netflix after two great seasons. The plan with the new Kickstarter is to fund a purely fan supported show and move away from any kind of network so the show can exist as long as the fans want it to. I enjoy this model quite a bit and as part of the plan they want to create the Gizmoplex, which is an app and community based way to release the new shows with a live streaming model. It seems the new shows will also be created with social distancing in mind which I hope they drop more details on because I'm interested with how that would work.

Regardless, I hope the new model sticks and the show can live on as long as it can. I don't mind that Mystery Science Theater 3000 lives on as a smaller show or as it did on Netflix, it needs to be whatever it is to survive well in the new digital world. If you feel the same, check out the Kickstarter and fund the bots baby!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mst3k/makemoremst3k


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