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Season 17, Episode 04

There’s that old line from “The Killing Joke” – “All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve let a game get under my skin, but in the wrong ways. The kind that frustrates you to no end or just…changes your whole attitude.

Marvel Snap is doing that currently and I’ve been trying my hardest to find out what triggers the change and how I can better respond to it or eliminate it altogether. The first option, obviously, is to stop playing the game. However, I really enjoy this game, so I’d like to find a better solution. So far, just muting the other player is actually doing a great job at keeping me calm. Or at least brings down the anger level of wanting to chuck my very expensive phone across the room.

I don’t like feeling that way, and nearly 99% of games that I play will not have that effect on me. But I can tell Marvel Snap is doing that and it reminds me that I’ve been there before. I can’t remember what game it might have been but this isn’t a new sensation for me. It’s a horrible feeling and sort of makes me reevaluate not only the game I’m playing but my emotions in general.

Is there a game you absolutely avoid because you know how it’ll make you feel? I’m sure we all have at least one. Be it a feeling of anger, or sadness, or anxiety, frustration – some games are meant to elicit an emotion of some kind. But then there’s the games that…I don’t know, they change your state of being or mind. A completely different person emerges.

This isn’t only with games, of course. It can be with anything competitive or not even that, really.

Speaking of bad days, Ubisoft…it has been 3,434 (bad) days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 03

I was never too keen on Marvel’s Avengers. I had interest in it when it was announced, but the more I was shown it, the less I cared. It didn’t look bad, really, although given what we’ve seen, it probably could have looked better, but it never had a chance.

It was a GaaS out of the gate, and a bad one at that. I never played it, but you couldn’t find an article, review, message board post, anything that wasn’t calling it out as a bad game. Or, if they weren’t, they had hopes of it either getting better or felt they could look past the flaws. But the flaws piled on, some corrected, some overcorrected, but by that time the damage was done and the player fall off was very real.

And now, they’re ending support for the game only three years after release. Something deemed a “game as a service” doesn’t do that. The “service” part of that means it goes on and on until, as I said earlier, the players stop playing. And they have. Be it from bugs, or maybe even the lack of consistent updates and content – either way, it’s toast and probably really never had a chance to be anything else. I don’t blame the developers. This is all on SquareEnix – the publisher. They wanted money after the game was bought and turned it into something it never should have been.

I really hope Warner Brothers is paying attention here. The Suicide Squad game set to release later this year (also, seemingly, as a GaaS), could live up to its namesake if they don’t nail it.

Oh well, at least Splinter Cell will never be a GaaS – cause it has been 3,427 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 02

I’m currently somewhere around 30 hours into God Of War. I’ve been playing it on and off since just a week after its release in November. Earlier this week, I felt like I hit a pretty crucial story point with, what seemed like a pretty crucial boss fight.

When things like that tend to happen, and this far into a game, it feels like maybe we’re about to hit our stride and start to focus on moving the story forward to an ending. God Of War had other plans. Here I am thinking that MAYBE I’m close to an ending here but then…THEN…the world opens up again. I go on this side quest thing and there is this gigantic area for me to explore.

Let me say again, 30 hours into a game and they just…opened it up more. Not only did they do that, they threw in a mechanic to change aspects of the new area. And when changing those aspects, they threw new puzzles at me. These puzzles, when solved, ADDED ANOTHER LAYER of this new massive area.

It’s like a gaming clown car or something. This game never stops going. I’d been in areas before that were quite large to explore but here I am again, what feels like late in the game (but maybe that’s because I spend so much time exploring everything), and they just…give you more.

I don’t know why that feels like some sort of novel concept. I can’t say that all games should do this, but given this and I think Elden Ring does the same sort of thing, it’s a wonder more don’t. I get it takes time and effort to make all of that, but it was amazing to see this area open up to me and my sudden realization that I could go explore it. As though I had conditioned myself to think it was all set dressing. It’s the background of where you are playing and while it’s massive, you only have a small space to explore.

God Of War devs said nope – if you build it then let the player explore it.

Now if only Ubisoft could build a new Splinter Cell for me to explore. It’s been 3,420 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 17, Episode 01

Welcome to season 17!

We’ve been away for two weeks and, on my end, there isn’t a whole lot to show for it. Still, we do try to pick our best games of last year, even though we…well, I, haven’t really had a lot of variety there. Still, as a spoiler, here were my three picks:

God Of War Ragnarok. I’m still playing this game and making my way through it. I’m slow with these kinds of games as I take my time and secure every little thing I can on the path to the boss, feeling as though I’ll lose the ambition to go back once the game is complete. None of that actually matters though because it keeps me entertained. By that I mean the game keeps pushing me forward, even with the distractions. Overall, when I’m finished, I’m sure I could find a few points of where the game drags, but, currently playing in the moment, I can’t find those points. The story is easily holding its own and nothing, so far, feels like a waste or something thrown on to lengthen the game. Again, retrospect may prove otherwise but I’m enjoying every moment of the game.

Vampire Survivors. This would probably be my game of the year. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and the loot/replay loop is fantastic. Then again, it was developed by one person who used to make casino games. They know a thing or two about getting you hooked and keeping you there. And this game does it flawlessly. It’s not the prettiest looking game out there and this proves the point that looks and story aren’t everything. Gameplay can come in and trump them all. Spend the five bucks. It’s worth it.

Marvel Snap. I never thought a card game would ever hook me but this one has. It’s absolutely free to play and there is some monetization there, it’s completely your choice to spend money. I haven’t spent a dime and if you think it means you’re missing out, I’ve won far more games with the base cards than I have lost. You don’t win the game by spending money. And that’s the best thing I could probably say about it. Still, it’s free, takes maybe less than 3 minutes to play a match, and you can play it anywhere on your phone or PC. It’s currently still in “early access” with a full release pending for the middle of this year so there’s tons of potential here and room for improvement. And you can’t beat free.

Maybe one day I can add a Splinter Cell game to a list like above, but until then we wait. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,413 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 16, Episode 43

The final show of the year is always kind of hard to write about and, sometimes, given whatever may be going on, just as difficult to find a subject to focus on.

We had a good year and a good run of episodes and we can’t thank you enough for being there with us. You have been and will always remain to be our reason for doing this. When you’re done then we’re done. We appreciate the year you’ve given us. The feedback, the phone calls, the emails, likes, shares, comments, and contributions. It all means a great deal to everyone involved with the show.

We can’t wait to see you in the new year and we look forward to everything on the horizon from 2023. Even without a new Splinter Cell release.

Thanks again for listening for all these years. We absolutely cannot do this without you.

In the meantime, the clock keeps ticking. Ubisoft, it’s been 3,399 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 16, Episode 42

Given how the night started off with the game awards, I wasn’t hopeful for Elden Ring. God Of War was just raking in the wins right from the start and the more they pulled in the more I felt like the momentum of a recent release would carry the game to a sweep – or close to one.

That isn’t how it actually turned out, however, and the big Game Of The Year award going to Elden Ring seemed, I don’t know, fitting. I can’t really make a comparison as I haven’t played Elden Ring. My only factors of thinking it would take home the big prize was the reach it had and the popularity it gained. Now, I have no clue if those were factors in how it was selected, but that was my criteria, for whatever reason.

I won’t complain too much about the awards presentation themselves. My complaints from previous years pretty much still stand. Stop steamrolling through awards. Give the devs (not the publishers) their time for recognition. Cut back on reveals. Oh, and maybe cut back on categories as well. And as a recent addition to the complaints – beef up security.

We’ve got one more show left to go before we say goodbye for the year. Join us next week for our Christmas show – whatever that entails.

In the meantime, Ubisoft, it’s been 3,392 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 16, Episode 41

It wasn’t my biggest haul of games over the holiday weekend but it was enough. Though I suppose at this point getting the deals is the easy part. It’s finding the time to play them – that’s the tricky one.

I probably pulled in about 10 news games or so over the weekend, but I’ve only really been playing Ragnarok. And given what was told to me in the chat room during this episode as far as where I was in the game, I’ll be playing that for a good while this month.

It’s the only game of the year contender I’ve played all year. That’s almost literally speaking given the nominees for that category in this year’s game awards. So, sure, it has my vote, I guess.

Speaking of, I’ll try my best to not fall into rant territory when we discuss the results of those awards next week. We watch it for one reason, and sadly, it isn’t the awards. Hell, this year we’re watching it for another reason and that’s bribery (steam deck giveaway).

In the meantime, Ubisoft, it’s been 3,385 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, BBC radio drama, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 16, Episode 40

A show so nice we’re playing it twice.

Actually, we do this every year around this time. Mainly because what we’re talking about in this episode will still apply come next weekend.

It’s Black Friday week, so we’re all about the deals. So long as they are console related. The PC folks among us take a backseat on the deals, sadly. I mean, we get some PC deals from a few places but digital retailers don’t advertise ahead of time as to what kind of discounts we’ll see. Hopefully a few of these on the consoles line up on PC, but it rarely happens.

If you’re looking for the Black Friday spreadsheet of deals, you can find it on our Facebook page or in our Discord. We’ll likely throw out a tweet about it soon, as well. I always talk about how fast games get a discount after being released and I think Sonic Frontiers takes home the gold this year for only being out about a week and already getting a fifty percent slash, but there are plenty of other discounts out there.

However you go about getting your video game deals, we hope you have a great holiday and get the games you want at the price you want! We’ll be back in two weeks!

The original Splinter Cell game is free right now on Ubisoft’s store in celebration for like 20 years since it first released. We’re almost at HALF that since the last Splinter Cell released. In fact, it’s been 3,371 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 16, Episode 39

It’s either A or B. Two choices. Sure, there will be more choices, of course, but it’s really down to just two.

Elden Ring or God Of War Ragnarok.

Those are your Game Of The Year contenders, and I haven’t played either of them. Yet. Ragnarok is only a matter of time for me. Elden Ring…is likely something I’ll never play. It’s just not my cup of tea when it comes to gaming. That isn’t to say it’s bad. I just don’t drift towards those types of games, but I easily tip my hat to what it has been able to pull off. And, in fact, I think it’ll win more Games Of The Year than it loses. But I could be wrong, as Josh pointed out in this episode, God Of War has the advantage of being fresh of mind for folks.

Again, I haven’t played either of them, but Elden Ring pulled off a lot. The sales are phenomenal and I know that isn’t a factor, but it likely has some effect just given the sheer number of people who’ve played the game. So, yes, Ragnarok has the fresh of mind advantage, Elden Ring has the longevity factor. The game has been out longer and had enough time for a massive amount of people to have played it. There’s also the benefit of being multi-platform. Ragnarok is stuck on the PS4/PS5. For now.

My case for Elden Ring is not only the sales numbers but the reviews were nothing but glowing and this game opened a lot of doors for a lot of people. Strictly speaking, games who never ventured into such a genre did so with Elden Ring. Bottle. Lightening. Captured. Was it George RR Martin who pulled them in? Maybe. Was it the promotion of the game? Maybe. Was it the developer? Sure, but that audience was already built in from their previous games. Like I said, it all came together in such a way that I don’t think anyone expected what actually happened. Successful, sure, but THIS kind of success – it surprised a lot of people.

That’s not to take away from God Of War Ragnarok. I think both titles are worthy of the recognition, but, oddly enough, I give the edge to Elden Ring. A game I’ll never play.

But watch Forza Horizon 5 take home the trophy.

Did you know there’s almost been a decade of Games Of The Years given out since Splinter Cell Blacklist released? Ubisoft, it’s been 3,364 days since a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive) was released.

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Season 16, Episode 38

I’m not sure we’ve ever had a peripheral cost more than the console it was made for. Now, sure, I can imagine going back to the NES days with the Power Glove/Pad/Gun/Etc, those would cost more given the console had already been out for a while. But the PSVR2 coming out next year will cost $50 more than the console you have to have to use it with. I mean, you’ve spent over a thousand dollars and still haven’t bought any games to play with the system or the VR.

We haven’t really seen any sort of reviews yet for the device so I’m sure somewhere in all of it you can find a reason for $550. I was going to just recommend the Quest 2 and call it a day, but I can imagine for that amount of money you’ll be getting something significantly better. On paper, it’s already there. And the few previews we do have say it’s pretty amazing. But, just like the console it was built for, the library will keep it alive. Or kill it.

I poked around with the first VR headset Sony did and just a year or so ago it went back to the store for credit. For me, too much was involved, especially compared to something like the Quest, where I can just put it on and play. The VR attached to the console meant I needed a camera and a ton of connections. It was far less than what I needed for the HTC Vive or original Oculus, but it was still an effort to get it all connected and then get it all out of the way when I was done playing.

The Quest 2 has spoiled me, in that regard. And maybe the PSVR2 would do that as well with just the quality, but it’ll need more games than what’s on offer to keep me invested.

And also a price cut too.

Meanwhile…Ubisoft, it’s been 3,357 days for a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).

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Season 16, Episode 37

I love a good horror game. I just won’t play a good horror game. Or a bad one. It’s a genre I don’t really ever dip into but they’ve mostly been some of the more fascinating play throughs I’ve watched or experienced. And sometimes, when we’re ever so lucky, we get a pretty good story out of it, or, at the very least, a massive franchise with some winners and losers.

It’s Halloween and the topic of scary games has come up yet again. Our likes and dislikes, the good and the bad, and then the ones that dip a toe or two into the genre but aren’t really considered scary. The Last Of Us isn’t a horror game but it (or the enemies and a few instances in the game) always end up on a list of “scary moments”.

The Resident Evil franchise is probably the go-to king of the genre, but I have to hand it to Supermassive Games and their Dark Pictures Anthology. It’s one of the most directly consistent studios putting out quality titles in the genre and they never seem to stop. Also, the frequency of the output on top of the quality itself just boggles my mind. If I had to pick horror games to play, it would be theirs. The cinematic aspect to it puts that whole “it’s like playing a movie” thing into better perspective. Because that’s exactly what it feels like.

Games like Amnesia, and Five Nights at Freddy’s – even games like some of the Resident Evil remakes – are, again, fun to watch but I’m not so good at playing them. Anything that gives a sense of never knowing what’s coming behind you or from any side really and has extremely tense moments, I just can’t enjoy. It messes with my mind to the point where I don’t enjoy playing the game anymore. I get frantic and discombobulated.

Hell, I’m also sure it hikes up my blood pressure, which is a big no-no for me at this point.

Speaking of scary, the real horror story, Ubisoft, is that we’ve been waiting 3,350 days for a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).

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Season 16, Episode 36

It’s getting closer and closer to that time of year when we’ll start to hear about all the Black Friday discounts, where games are concerned anyway. And by the way, just because it’s a Black Friday deal doesn’t mean it’ll happen on that day or that you even have to go out in the mess to take advantage. You can pretty much stay home and do the shopping online, if you like. And, better yet, a lot of these deals will go live the week of Black Friday or sooner.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because we always do, but usually a little too late. My general rule is to stop buying games around August. But you can put that into effect anytime you want even before then (There is also the option of not giving a damn and just buying what you want when you want. Not a thing wrong with that at all). Any later than that and you risk running into buying a game at full price and then seeing it heavily discounted within a few months.

Our best example of this is from last year with Guardians Of The Galaxy. This game was released October 26th last year at a full price of $60. The big steelbook collectors edition was $80, I think. Anyway, during the week of Black Friday it was down to $25. All editions. One of the biggest drops in the shortest amount of time and one of the best deals I got last year. Great game too.

Now, we don’t have any deals yet that have shown up but they will be over the next few weeks. We’ll run them down as much as possible when we get them so you can better stay informed of what’ll be on sale, for how much, and when.

Maybe by next Black Friday we’ll see a discount on a brand new Splinter Cell game (unlikely). Ubisoft, we’ve been waiting 3,343 days for a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).

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Season 16, Episode 35

Lowered Expectations…

Things seem lite. I feel like we should be talking about new games released or just around the corner to do so, but nothing stands out. There’s God Of War in November and your usual Call Of Duty.

Let me take a moment to talk about Call Of Duty. That franchise doesn’t even make a blip on my radar anymore. It was the quietest of blips before since I’d stopped playing the games, but even more so now I just…forget about it. OR, rather than forget, it’s just a part of life now. Routine. Every year we get a new CoD. Every year around the same exact time we get a new one. And there’s been so many now it just rolls into itself over and over again and it feels like the passing of time. You don’t notice it anymore. It just happens. But that’s just me, probably. I doubt it feels that way for fans of the franchise.

Anyway, there’s other games on the horizon but not much being said. Scorn is out now but the reviews are all over the place and it’s a pretty short experience. Gotham Knights releases soon and…I don’t know where I am with that game. It doesn’t look fun and for all the stuff I have read that says not to compare it to the Arkham series – that’ll be tough for me, I think. Maybe. Sonic Frontiers is on my radar but, like, at a discount whenever that may happen. There’s probably a Nintendo Switch title or two getting some big releases that have fallen off my radar or don’t seem to be as big as they once were when announced.

It just feels lite to me. Maybe not to you, however. I guess it all depends on what you like and what you’re looking forward to. I hope your horizon looks a bit brighter than mine at the moment – game wise anyway.

Sure would be a lot brighter if we have a brand new Splinter Cell. Ubisoft, we’ve been waiting 3,336 days for a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).

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Season 16, Episode 34

They almost never pick the one YOU want.

Like a lot of things we consume for entertainment, I suspect the ideas of remakes are subjective. The negative points being it’s either too soon for a remake or it was never worthy of one to begin with. The positives being returning to an old game with a fresh coat of paint on it or other kinds of tweaks and fixes or giving newer fans a chance to play something they were never able to when it originally released.

We can probably all agree that remakes are a cash grab – be that good or bad. Depending on the depth of the remake/remaster – do they start from the ground up in rebuilding the game or are they just adding in elements to upgrade the look, are they tweaking the controls or adding in gameplay mechanics – a little to a lot of work can go into one. Calling some of the more robust remakes/remasters a cash grab would seem a bit disingenuous.

But again, it’s all subjective. Especially when it’s a title you don’t really care about. I don’t think anyone’s ever done one for a sports title. We never got ”Madden ‘95 Remastered” (at least I don’t think we ever did). Call Of Duty has been doing this but that felt more like a lack of ideas rather than a cash grab. Probably a little bit of both, really. The original Myst has gone through a number of these sorts of things. I can’t tell you how many copies of the original game I have that have some sort of subtitle or pre-title, each one claiming to be better than the one before it. And these aren’t sequels, mind you, but legit releases claiming to be remasters, remakes, real, 3D, anniversary, and other some odd editions.

Still, it falls to a matter of opinion. There’s nothing wrong with these things. As a consumer you either buy it or you don’t. Which kind of breaks down every sort of subjective discussion, doesn’t it? Is it worth your time, your money, and do you even want it in the first place?

I mean, I’d like a brand new Splinter Cell, Ubisoft, we’ve been waiting 3,329 days for a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).

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Season 16, Episode 33

Happy Spooky Season. Let’s visit a tech graveyard.

We could say we called this whole Stadia thing going south way back when it was first announced, but EVERYONE called it, really.

Google leaves a trail of death behind it. Like some weird nature thing where the company gives birth to a product and then just moves on to something else leaving it to live or die on its own. I’m sure that’s not actually the case but in both software and hardware, they can’t seem to keep things going. And it doesn’t have to be doing poorly. Plenty of things google offered would just get turned off or shut down for no real reason at all.

I tried Stadia in a beta and even some after release. It was interesting and worked well enough in the beta that I was excited for the idea but ultimately, video game streaming isn’t there yet. I loved the idea of opening a browser and playing a triple A title of some sort. And it was cool to see it load in my browser just as it would on a PC or console, but you still knew you were playing a streaming game and not something directly from your system. It wasn’t there yet. Not as ambitious as Google would like, I suppose. I think, eventually, video game streaming will get there, but that’s a long way off and even then you’ll need people supporting it once we do get there.

I was just as skeptical about the Steam Deck and I already kind of regret not getting one when I had the chance. It has nothing to do with streaming, but more so Steam’s track record for physical devices. I think they got this one right, however.

And me saying that probably means they’ll shut it down within a year. Actually, it’ll probably take me buying one before they decide to pull the plug on it – if my track record of new tech holds like these companies do.

Meanwhile…Ubisoft, we’ve been waiting 3,322 days for a new Splinter Cell game (non-animated series or guest spot in another game franchise, remake, or VR exclusive).