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Season 14, Episode 27

Up until this week, nothing has really excited me about the new consoles coming out in a few months. The features and games, there was nothing pulling me in really. Then Microsoft really opened the doors on what they’ve got and now…well, I feel a bit of that excitement coming back.

And oddly enough, I’m more excited about the smaller, scaled back version of the Xbox Series S. We go over the differences a bit in the show here to tell you exactly how scaled back the Series S actually is, but I’m still excited by it. To the point I may, and likely will, eventually own both a Series X and a Series S.

Although, let me tell you now, I don’t think either would be as tempting if it weren’t for Xbox Gamepass. And that may really be the case here why I’m not just all over Sony. Honestly, none of the systems have launch titles or anything that is really drawing me in, but Gamepass and the ability with it to play a ton of games is why I’m pulled in the direction of Microsoft. That and the Series S price tag are a great combo. Sony has nothing like that to compete against and I’m really curious to see what they’re going to do about it – if anything at all.

In the meantime, Ubisoft, it’s been 2,581 days since the last Splinter Cell release (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise).

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Season 14, Episode 26

The Switch is really coming into its own for me, lately. I remember getting it at launch. This was after weeks of saying I had no interest in it and that it just didn’t seem like anything I would ever play. Obviously I’m a sucker for new systems. I had it, I just didn’t have a lot to play. There was Zelda, sure, but this machine pretty much stayed in the dock unplayed for weeks. I think I messed with it a little when Mario Kart was out. Keep in mind this was in February or March.

Fast forward that year to my usual trip to Seattle and it really came in handy. Sort of. I bought Sonic Mania for it and picked up the Mario/Rabbids game. It got some use. At least on the long flight to Seattle and the flight back. Then it sat around again collecting mostly dust. The odd release from time to time would get me back into the machine, but it really didn’t get used. I remember previous episodes from ever how long ago talking about this and that I just didn’t have anything to play.

Cue the pandemic. I’ve probably put in more time with the Switch now than any other console I own and that’s only since March. And it’s BECAUSE of the portable aspect of the machine. I look at games now wondering if they’d make good Switch games. It usually comes down to how I play the game. Burnout, for instance, is nice because I can easily get into it, do a race, and then get back out of it and move on with whatever. In other words, my portable gaming is a lot of stop and go gaming. So something like that or Animal Crossing is a great idea for how I use it. Even SpiritFarer, which I am currently playing for FREE through GamePass is giving me pause to go further since I think it would make a great Switch title.

I hate that it took what the world is going through right now, but the Switch, for me, is finally getting used and I’m actually taking it seriously when picking up a console game on how I’ll play that game. Good on you Nintendo, and I’m sorry it took me so long to come around.

In the meantime, Ubisoft, it’s been 2,567 days since the last Splinter Cell release (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise).

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Season 14, Episode 25

When two companies battle, it’s usually a good thing for the consumer. But I am almost certain when Epic and Apple battle, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with YOU. However, Epic has positioned itself to look like it has everything to do with you and Apple’s pretty much painted themselves into a corner.

Look, I’m not a developer and I have no idea what goes on in the mobile marketplace for apps and whatnot. So if something comes out of this that will benefit those developers, then sure. I haven’t really had my finger on the pulse of this so I don’t actually know if developers aren’t happy with Apple like Epic is and, for whatever reason, this doesn’t feel the same as the Steam Vs. Epic situation we had not too long ago. I mean, the Steam thing is similar, but I was hearing a far louder outcry from other devs and I can’t remember the outcome in that but it wasn’t anything like what is happening now.

Epic has sued Apple and Google. I mean, might as well hat-trick it and throw in Microsoft if you wanna go for the nuttiest thing you can do as a company award. I’m not saying they’re in the wrong, but those are two powerhouse companies (as is Epic as we find out during the show), but I guess if anyone could take that on, it would be Epic (or MS for that matter).

I guess we’ll see how that plays out. In the meantime, Ubisoft, it’s been 2,553 days since the last Splinter Cell release (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise).

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Season 14, Episode 24

The Switch is beginning to serve a purpose as of late. And maybe it always did but I just needed the game to make that happen. Apparently I found it in Animal Crossing.

I’ve had downtime at work due to the whole world situation. I mean, not always downtime but easily more than I did before the pandemic and I’ve been bringing my Switch with me to work. As for Animal Crossing, it’s been to basically do the daily maintenance on my island. That takes maybe 30 minutes or less to really worry with but it’s also been to sell those stupid turnips to make a small fortune with the in-game currency.

However, recently, I just picked up Burnout Paradise for the Switch. I can’t really count how many times I have bought this game in both regular and remastered form, but it’s a lot. I even played a small bit of it during a break on this episode and I was hooked. Even for just two whole minutes of driving around the map, I was hooked. All over again.

The point is, I’m actually using the Switch for what most people use it for – on the go gaming. And I’m suddenly giving it more time now than any of the other consoles.

God help me if they ever put Destiny on this thing.

Ubisoft, it’s been 2,546 days since the last Splinter Cell release (non-animated series).

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Season 14, Episode 23

Apologies up front. I did as much as I could to take out a horrible hum in the audio. We’re not sure what that is, but we’re going to look into it and hopefully have it corrected by the next episode. I almost completely eliminated it, but if you were perhaps tuning in live, it was probably there and annoying. Sorry for that.

A few weeks back I mentioned I was working on building a new PC. Currently still in the gathering-of-parts phase of the project. Well, I mention a little on this episode as to WHY I’m doing that. Microsoft Flight Simulator is honestly probably one of the reasons I built a PC to begin with. The 2004 edition is the last one I played and I played a TON of that when it was released. Now, we’ve got another one releasing in a few weeks and it is looking to be one of those moments in not only simulation gaming but gaming in general that are revolutionary.

Find any video online of people playing in the beta and just be blown away from the detail and the beauty of what Microsoft has been able to accomplish. And that’s just a beta. There’s over 37,000 airports in the simulation and it even goes deeper than that when it comes to real word weather data and location data. It is something remarkable to behold and I cannot wait to take to the skies again (in a massive variety of planes at that).

Ubisoft, it’s been 2,539 days since the last Splinter Cell release (non-animated series).

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Season 14, Episode 22

It’s been over a month since I’ve dipped my toes back into The Last Of Us Part 2. Exactly…I played it the first weekend it released and then left it alone for a whole month. I think a lot of that was anxiety to get back into that game and that world. I’m usually far more methodical in these kinds of games and for that first weekend I played it – that’s exactly what I was. It took me a full 3 days of playing to not even get near halfway into the game. And the thought of doing that again was apparently weighing down on me to the point where I just didn’t want to do it.

So when I stepped back inside the game this past weekend, I went in and put it on the easiest setting I could with as much assistance as I could. Now the combat’s a breeze and so is the stealth, but I’m also moving quicker (a bit) through the game and I’m fine with that. It isn’t taking away anything from the story but it is helping the story move along quicker – which I’m fine with.

I’m much too far behind in this game to keep holding off playing it if I want to find out what others think of it. I have to avoid almost any and all conversations about it just in the event that something might get spoiled for me. There’s another slice of anxiety there as well. So…onward we go to finally finishing up this game. My thoughts so far, as best I can relate to where I am without giving anything away are contained in this episode. Hopefully I’ll have even more to say and maybe even feel differently come next episode.

Ubisoft, it’s been 2,532 days since the last Splinter Cell release.

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Season 14, Episode 21

The PC Build Bug has bitten yet again. The last time an actual build took place for me was back in 2012 and I still can’t remember why I did it. Usually I’m driven by a game or a few games on the horizon but going back to 2012 and I can’t see a thing I would have reason to build a PC for – at least not at the magnitude I built mine back then.

Since 2012 I’ve only added hard drive space, replaced the power supply, and put in a new video card back in 2015. So, yeah, I’d say it’s time for at least some of the main parts to get replaced. I’m taking it slow, however. I’ve no reason to rush and I can sit around and wait for deals to fall into my lap. One of those already presented itself in the form of a CPU so I’m on the AMD train as far as that’s concerned. I’ll still likely stick with NVIDIA for my video card, however.

Also, it’s another year and so yet another E3 without a new Splinter Cell from Ubisoft. I think I’ll start a count up and reference it every week until we get another announcement.

Ubisoft, it’s been 2,525 days since the last Splinter Cell release.

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Season 14, Episode 20

I don’t know if anyone listens to the show who makes video games, but please excuse our talk about gaming moving to a higher price tag. It’s mostly me, and I apologize for speaking out of turn as I have absolutely NO idea how to make video games or even how they are made. Thinking back on that I probably sound pretty dumb. My apologies.

Oh hey, Matt’s back…for at least one episode anyway. He also got a switch! And I got my switch back from Nintendo repair so we talk a lot about that again and his time with the system. Actually, we talk about his whole time away and what he’s been playing.

Speaking of the Switch, I now know why people are excited for “turnip day” in Animal Crossing. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go play the “stalk” market.

I still don’t understand the hook of this game, but it’s hook is very deeply embedded within my mouth.

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Season 14, Episode 19

Just a quick note, first off, to say there will NOT be a new episode next weekend due to the holiday.

Well, it’s week two and I haven’t finished Last Of Us Part 2. I’ve gotten further than last time I wrote this but still don’t even think I’m halfway through the thing. Which is a nice change of pace when it comes to my usual game of choice: Destiny – the never ending hamster wheel.

I can remember not too far back when a new game like Last Of Us (although I even think my memory here goes back further) would be something I would tackle in a weekend. It’s just not like that anymore for the long games. I don’t know if it’s time to play that gets in the way or maybe it’s more my desire to soak it all in rather than speed through it in a few nights. Whatever the case, I much prefer the aspect of taking my time with a game like that – something story driven and single player. I can easily attest to trying to speed run some of my other games or well…essentially Destiny again. There have been numerous times where I just run through that for the sake of getting it done to move on to something else.

I don’t want to say slow and steady wins the race, mainly because there is no race for the most part except where I’m trying to beat being spoiled randomly by the internet.

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Season 14, Episode 18

Just a head’s up for this episode – we do discuss The Last Of Us Part II. However, we keep it pretty spoiler free outside of a location you visit in a major US city. Other than that it took a lot longer to discuss just the few hours I’d already put into it – more time to talk about than I thought we’d spend.

Currently, I’m sitting at 8 hours in and that really tells you nothing considering how much time you can take to play a game like this. At 8 hours I’ve spent over half of those in just random walking story discussions but mostly, covering every nook and cranny of every single building and room I come across for supplies and resources. Reminds me of exactly what happened when I played the first one – or any game like this.

I don’t mind the exploration, but with all the settings they have in this game (there’s a ton even before you start the game but there’s even more when you go to the settings while in the game), I’d have loved one where I wouldn’t have to spend SO much time looking for things. That part actually gets annoying and I can see myself getting tired of it during gameplay and just moving on to the next story point.

Anyway, we have some thoughts on the game from the early point of it and we’ll continue to have more as I make my way through it.

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Season 14, Episode 17

Console reveals are fun, aren’t they?

I wasn’t expecting to get a look at the actual Playstation 5 when Sony did their showcase this past week. If I remember correctly it only mentioned it would be showing off games for the new system but then at the end we get the reveal. Nice surprise. I liked that. And I also liked the console. I like the looks of both the PS5 and the Xbox Series X.

Because I don’t care what they look like. I never have. Outside of the television itself, I’ve never been particular to the looks of my equipment. It’s not an aesthetic I genuinely have interest in. It’s what the machine can do that sells me on it. Specs and price. Not design. And they haven’t designed a system yet where I’ve changed my mind about getting it because it was ugly.

That’s not how game systems work. Oh sure, I enjoy the memes and jokes on their design. It’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t sway ANYONE on getting a system. At least it shouldn’t. Go where the games are that you want to play. That’s how it’s always been.

And still, we’re clueless on price for both of these and that’s still the part that REALLY holds my interest.

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Season 14, Episode 16

We really didn’t have a lot to talk about where video games were concerned. A lot of what we might have been talking about in that regard was delayed. And for good reason.

Even what we had to talk about was a delay – 90 minutes of watching a ship explode.

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Season 14, Episode 15

We can send people to space….

One thing leads to another leads to another and so on. That’s how this episode starts out and we take a little walk down memory lane. Mostly just how badly we all miss arcades. I mean, I say we miss them but I can easily remember being in them and wish I could play those things at home. Now I can and I want to go back to where they came from. I guess we can’t actually have it both ways. But really, we can. Arcades were about playing games with friends on systems we didn’t have at home. You couldn’t. It was just too top of the line and consoles weren’t there yet. But they caught up. Still, at the arcade you had the big machines – ones you could sit in that moved. You had some of the physical games like skee ball or the basketball hoops and you had redemption games (some are fun, I’ll admit), and you had pinball too.

A lot of those games you couldn’t replicate at home on a console, but now…arcades are dead. You’ll find a few here and there but mostly arcades exist to be mostly exactly what I mentioned above, and mainly the redemption game part. It’s what keeps the money coming in.

I’m not sad about that, but I am a little in the fact that a lot of people now won’t get that feeling of what an arcade was (stand by for an old man statement) back in my day.

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Season 14, Episode 14

In my head, it’s more fun to think that Sony and Microsoft are having a stand off and seeing which one moves first. Like some weird game of marketing chicken or a staring contest. But, there’s likely a reality that the price of both systems has already been set. And actually, it probably has except that it’s been set on memos and spreadsheets. Points at which the consoles can sell and make profit or, more likely, how much they’ll take at a loss for how ever many systems until they start actually making money on the things. Obviously they stand to lose less money the higher the price of the console, but then there’s another spreadsheet somewhere from an analyst who likely tells them that once you cross a certain price point of the system, the public’s prospect of buying it starts to lower. And then comes the balancing act.

And then comes the stand off. You do not (at least so far as we’ve seen in years past) want to be the company whose console costs more than the other guys.

In my head, like I said, it’s far more dramatic, but I’m guessing it’s probably something so very anticlimactic and, even worse, boring.

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Season 14, Episode 13

As much as I go on a rant at the end of the episode about Ubisoft providing gameplay for what’s touted as a gameplay trailer, I suppose I should take a dose of my own medicine for very little talk of games on a show about video games.

Still, when I get folks calling in that I haven’t spoken to in months and even more so on this show, it’s good to catch up and reminisce. And just to twist the knife further into Ubisoft (not hard to do), we were still able to fit more game talk in than they did gameplay.

Speaking of, I don’t really feel as bad as I sound when ranting. We’re going to get that gameplay and we’re going to get the game. Why blow it all on a 45 minute Xbox presentation when you can devote 30 or more minutes in your own later in the summer?

It’s fine. We all want gameplay and we’ll get it, we just wanted it…you know…NOW, when they said they’d show it. Here we are in 2020 and we’re still having to parse through footage to see what’s real and what’s cinematic. We’re still reading between the lines of what was shown and what was promised. Still not able to REALLY take a publisher’s word for it. At least right now in Ubisoft’s case, anyway.

EA, you’re next.