Videogames New To You February 2013
Andy
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What games are you playing for the first time this month, February 2013?

In a break from the traditional format inherited from the BGG lists, I'm going to try posting these lists at the start of each month, so that when we start playing a new videogame, we can post our initial thoughts on it. (Thanks to Ncik for the suggestion to change the format).
These don't have to be games that you've beaten, or abandoned.. just simply games that you picked up and started playing this month.

Please feel free to add a new entry each time you start a new game, as this will be useful for generating statistics.


Videogame New To You Announcement Thread
Videogames New To You Metalist 2013



Be sure to check out the weekly "What Videogames Did You Play This Weekend" lists
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1. Video Game: Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1369] [Average Rating:7.67 Unranked]
Video Game: Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties
Although I installed this last month I played it for the first time today, the first of February. So far I'm liking this expansion much more than The Warchiefs.
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2. Video Game: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:490] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
Video Game: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
Andy
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More on this to come, but I fired this up tonight as my next major game... having fun with it so far... it is definitely different to the original Dawn of War, and I'm going to miss the base building and troop production, but I can see this being pretty good.
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3. Video Game: Orcs Must Die! 2 [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:700]
Video Game: Orcs Must Die! 2
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Enjoyed the previous one, so having grabbed this over the holiday Steam sale, I finally booted it up today when
Andy
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and I were a bit early for VGG game night. (And I think I played it with
Kevin J
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as well? I have been playing so many games with VGGers, I am actually losing track; I could not keep people straight in our Path of Exile game.) We played a few levels and it was great fun. Even with the first one, I knew I liked OMD much better than Dungeon Defenders for single player, because it's just a Funnier game, less focused on grind. OMD2 is only for 2 players, and only has 2 classes, but they each have an entertaining array of traps and weapons, and it's just plain satisfying to play. Add to the fact that skulls accumulate over time, and you don't have to worry about mis-spending your trap upgrades, which is good because there are many different traps and I know I'll want to try them out.
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4. Video Game: Darksiders [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:641]
Video Game: Darksiders
Neil Tomlinson
United Kingdom
Oldham
Greater Manchester
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Got this in the THQ humble bundle, but wasn't really interested until I heard one of the PC Gamer UK podcasters saying how much he was enjoying Darksiders 2.

This is a console-style hack-em-up, with silly giant swords and stuff. I played a bit of Devil May Cry on my friend's Playstation an age ago, but apart from that I have no experience of this style of game.

Positives:

Acrobatically whacking monsters is viscerally satisfying
Maps are not so large that exploring is a chore
Puzzles are not irritatingly easy, and a couple were quite satisfying to solve.
In game 'secret items' are placed so that the player can actually find them without having to scour a walkthrough.
The rate of unlocking new abilities is steady enough to maintain freshness
Swimming sections - but no repetitive surfacing for breath. Hurrah!

Negatives:

There's no real 'hook' to keep me playing, either in story or gameplay. I play because it's fun (at the moment), but I'm not particularly curious to see what happens in the later game.

Mark Hamill is a great voice actor, but The Watcher's voice is exactly the same as The Joker, which feels very odd.

When you pick up a weapon that requires aiming, you have to aim with the joypad sticks, which is as cumbersome and annoying as it has always been. In the Saints Row games, I just grab the mouse and keyboard when I want to shoot stuff. In this: you can't!
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5. Video Game: VVVVVV [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:609]
Video Game: VVVVVV
Andy
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My latest lunchtime gaming game is this simple yet highly frustrating action puzzle game.

After the initial easing in, I found that it got pretty tricky, but then the difficulty eased off with the exploration aspect of the game... though there are some evil and very difficult sections, like the Tower!

I've found 2 of the crew so far, so I will try and persevere, but it depends how frustrated I get.
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6. Video Game: Jetpack Joyride [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1839]
Video Game: Jetpack Joyride
Andy
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This one has cropped up a lot on the games beaten list, so I eventually caved and added it to my facebook.. I've been playing for quite a while this lunchtime and have gained a number of levels. My best distance so far is just over 5,000km

Probably keep playing for a bit, but not sure if I'll take the time to max out my levels and complete it.
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7. Video Game: Being One: Escape the Lab [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Being One: Escape the Lab
Andy
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Manchester
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I had a look through geekmod and this series of games came up so I thought I'd give it a try this lunchtime..

A very simple point and click adventure game in which you have to "Escape from the Lab".

My first play through took 24'26" as shown below.. I managed a second play through in just 4'38".

From gallery of Grimwold

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8. Video Game: Sonic Generations [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1064]
Video Game: Sonic Generations
Chad V
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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Platform: Xbox 360

I picked this up in a Math Trade a few months ago. I have played through the first 3 zones and am working on unlocking the first boss. The verdict is still out but I am enjoying it so far. I probably won't go for 100% completion but I would like to beat the game.
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9. Video Game: CivCity: Rome [Average Rating:6.35 Overall Rank:4155]
Video Game: CivCity: Rome
Another game I picked up due to its bargain price. I've played through the opening on the campaign and so for it's OK. Hopefully I like this game more than Caesar IV which I got bored of very quickly.
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10. Video Game: flOw (2006) [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:6063]
Video Game: flOw (2006)
Andrew Hodkinson
Canada
Owen Sound
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Just starting playing this, first as the flash game and then on the PS3.

I'm not sure what to make of it yet.
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11. Video Game: Waking Mars [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:2357]
Video Game: Waking Mars
Luke Stirling
Norway
Trondheim
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Started this only a day or so ago, and racked up a whole bunch of hours in a very short space of time. The idea, underground farming of Martian plants is kinda wacky, but it's my kind of wacky.

Unfortunately I've had to put my playthrough on hold, as I seem to have encountered a bug that would make it impossible for me to 100% the game and see the full ending. Which is something I definitely want to do in this case. I also could not find a single report online of my bug, so it's obviously something incredibly rare, and I've emailed the developers in the hope that they'll be able to sort it out for me. Restarting after clocking in seven hours of gameplay does not appeal, even if I am really enjoying it.
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12. Video Game: Jetpack Joyride [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1839]
Video Game: Jetpack Joyride
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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Yeah, I don't know about this game. It's addictive, but it's starting to feel like a make-work project. ...But it is kind of fun. I keep finding myself playing it when I sit down to do something else. I figure I'll give it about another hour before I tire of it.
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13. Video Game: Rogue Trooper (2006) [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:2994]
Video Game: Rogue Trooper (2006)
Andy
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We were staying with my brother and his fiancée this weekend, and with not having a PC to play on, I opted to try a few of his wii games after everyone had gone to bed.

I tried this one on Saturday night, and it's an interesting 3rd person shooter based on the comic book strip from 2000AD. Unfortunately I found the controls rather tricky... you move with the control stick on the nunchuck, but pan the camera by moving the cursor to the edges of the screen, which made aiming rather difficult for me, especially since the camera seemed highly sensitive and I kept over-correcting.

It's possible it would have gone better if it hadn't been so late and I hadn't been trying not to disturb anyone.
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14. Video Game: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:571]
Video Game: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
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Having finished off a bunch of games I was messing around with on the PS3, I have turned my gaze on this one. And wow! Liking it so far. Looks like an enjoyable, immersive experience.
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15. Video Game: Defense Grid: Containment [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Defense Grid: Containment
Andy
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Having abandoned VVVVVV, I needed something to fill the lunchtime gaming slot... so I turned to my old friend Defence Grid... and fired up the new DLC that I had kickstarted last year.

I played through the first two levels, earning the Gold medal on each, though I did have to skip back to a checkpoint a couple of times on the first level as I tried to be too cautious with my spending. I did however earn the achievement "Foresight is 20/20" for not going back to a checkpoint on the second level!

From gallery of Grimwold


So far it seems like a nice slice of my favourite "pure" Tower Defence game... the new visuals are very nice, but so far there is nothing really new in the core elements of towers and aliens

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16. Video Game: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:860] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Video Game: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising
Andy
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Manchester
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Having completed the Dawn of War 2 Campaign, I fired up Chaos Rising and dived straight in to the first Mission. It looks like it's going to be more of the same, with some slight changes (e.g. resource 'crates' now give different types instead of being generic) and of course different enemies, settings, and missions.

Ironically, the first mission is on an ice planet, just like Dawn of War: Winter Assault was.

I was given the option of creating a new profile, or importing my squads from DoW2.. Naturally I imported my squads... Many of whom were at level 20 (the Max for DoW2)... but clearly the difficulty has scaled up because I didn't feel that it was in any way too easy.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes.
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17. Video Game: Path of Exile [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:594]
Video Game: Path of Exile
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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On Saturday night I cut my teeth on some Path of Exile for the first time. I was playing with a group of veterans from VGG...

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No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
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United States
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Osirus
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Who were all very adept at hoovering up the loot, and who knew most of the quests and where to go, so I spent more time than I would like either chasing after them, or just plain trying to track them down. It may be a co-op game, but it's dog eat dog when it comes to earning XP and grabbing the loot!

The game itself is a Diablo clone... therefore, having not played Diablo, any comparisons I'd draw are with Torchlight, which I have played and enjoyed.

The graphics style is more 'serious' and less colourful than Torchlight, and the loot system is shared loot rather than personal loot (in Torchlight 2 multiplayer everyone gets their own loot, whereas here you have to fight for what's dropped!)

The class system, skill forest and socket-able gems for PoE all seemed more complicated than I'm used to from Torchlight... but perhaps that was just because I was thrown in at the deep end with a bunch of loot-hungry pro's and never had chance to really study anything.

Overall I had a lot of fun playing PoE, and it's clear that the game shines as a multiplayer. I still think I prefer Torchlight's style and gameplay, but a bit of that may be down to familiarity.
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18. Video Game: XCOM: Enemy Unknown [Average Rating:8.40 Overall Rank:26] [Average Rating:8.40 Unranked]
Video Game: XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Ryan Gatti
United States
Portland
Oregon
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I just started playing this and I'm really enjoying it. I recall playing the original and enjoying it, as well. This reminds me a lot of the original, but without feeling like a pure clone.
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19. Video Game: Gratuitous Space Battles [Average Rating:6.03 Overall Rank:4254]
Video Game: Gratuitous Space Battles
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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I needed something simple that my office PC could handle for a spot of lunchtime gaming, and this had been mentioned on the Games Beaten thread, so I gave it a try...

After 7 hours or so of playing I had beaten all the missions of the base game, and actually enjoyed it a lot more than I was expecting to... the fact that you can speed-up the battle section where you are essentially just an observer was quite nice, otherwise they would have dragged on a bit.

From gallery of Grimwold


Overall I had fun with this, and in the steam weekend sale that is currently going on, I picked up a bunch of the DLC to try out.

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20. Video Game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:150]
Video Game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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As good as the original in many respects! Unique aesthetic, thought provoking, immersive, and lots to do and explore; really captures some of the well known aspects of the cyberpunk genre. Way too easy, though; it's not hard to explore everything, though the levels are made to have multiple paths. Also, the "alternate endings" are LAME.
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21. Video Game: The Longest Journey [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:336]
Video Game: The Longest Journey
Neil Tomlinson
United Kingdom
Oldham
Greater Manchester
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This is a game hailed as one of the last greats of the adventure genre before it lost all foothold as a mainstream genre. The story is the focus of most of the praise.

I have so far found it contains typical examples of some of the worst aspects of the adventure genre. Early game dialogue is full of clumsy exposition, and I have never understood this in a genre where the inner thoughts of a character are accessible through the 'look at' interactions. Why not reveal April's recent history by having her comment on the various items and people the player looks at during the game? What is the need for this unrealistic information-dump from the NPCs?

Despite this, the characters are distinct and for the most part believable, and I suspect this indicates some good writing to come.

The puzzles are frequently in the tradition of cartoon-logic solutions - but this is not a comedy adventure game! Unlike in Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, the silly set-ups and solutions jar against the serious plot. This has been somewhat overlooked by the adventure game community because the challenge level of the puzzles hits the sweet spot between 'too easy' and 'too hard', so all other sins are forgiven. The game has so far been good at directing me where I should be and what I should be trying to do, though still uses 'pick up everything that isn't nailed down' as a feature of the gameplay, so I imagine I may get stuck in the future because I missed some small item.

The absolute best feature of the game is the ease and speed with which you can move around the gameworld. I can't stand it when I want to try an idea out but have to watch three minutes of my character dawdling across the environment before I can put the idea into action (the recent Sam & Max games suffered from this, but the worst I ever saw was The Feeble Files). You can skip animations in this game with a press of the ESC key, so I can fly around from A to B and try stuff out without wanting to throttle the developers.
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22. Video Game: Crackdown 2 [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:2507]
Video Game: Crackdown 2
Had this game on my shelf for a long long time. Since I had a hangover yesterday I wanted to play something simple and dug this one out. While the concept is nice I have some problems with this game. For one it is annoying to get stuck somewhere or to have to climb every building instead of using some stairs... Especially as you lack the jumping power to climb them early in the game. All those "You can't do that yet" messages show that the concept is bad. But blowing stuff up heals some of that damage.

Will most likely finish the game later on.
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23. Video Game: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:102]
Video Game: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Luke Stirling
Norway
Trondheim
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So, I was all set to start playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonborn, when someone (who will remain nameless) said to me:
Username that rhymes with dankexmortis wrote:
It's nice enough so far. Solstheim seems to have shrunk a bit since the 3rd Era, but the Morrowind fanservice is awesome and I'm looking forward to seeing what the modders do with the new resources.
Morrowind you say? A game that only recently joined the ranks of my massive backlog. Well, I love a callback as much as the next guy. So rather than start a new Skyrim character to run through all the DLC to date, I opted to fire up Morrowind instead.

After remapping some default keys (space=interact, E=jump, really?!), and adding a couple of visual post-processing and bug fixing mods. I fired up the game. There's definitely an early 2000s visual muddiness thing to overcome, even though mods do help. I could have gone further with the mods, but I opted to go for as close to the vanilla experience as I dare. And the dialogue system seems to be so open as to force me to either abandon my completionist tendencies, or re-read very similar lines of dialogue from a multitude of characters.

That aside though, I think the only thing holding me back from really getting into this game is a tiny, noisy dinosaur that loves to climb all over my keyboard.
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24. Video Game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Missing Link [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:1403] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Video Game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Missing Link
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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More Deus Ex goodness. This DLC is basically a large level that is inserted into the last bit of the storyline of the base game. Fun stuff.
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25. Video Game: Dead Space 3 [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:2007]
Video Game: Dead Space 3
Omar Germino
United States
Schaumburg
Illinois
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EDIT: Oops, I had both this list and the "Games Beaten" list open and accidentally posted to this one. Well, it was still new to me, so I may as well keep it here also.

Game: Dead Space 3

Platform: Xbox 360

Num. of Times Completed to Date: 1

Playtime: 20 hours, 48 minutes, 3 seconds

Précis

The first Dead Space was revolutionary: I had to completely abandon the mindset that a long lineage of shooter games had instilled into me—that of going for a headshot, or at the very least a body shot. The enemies in that game were susceptible only to the complete opposite: limb shots. It took some getting used to.

For those unfamiliar with the series, it is a sci-fi horror story centering around horrific zombie-like mutations called necromorphs. In the first game, a civilian engineer named Isaac Clarke is sent as part of a team investigating a sudden loss of communication with a large mining vessel. It is soon discovered that the entire crew had been transformed into necromorphs. Following that incident, in Dead Space 2, Clarke is sequestered aboard a station built around the remains of Saturn's moon Titan, but a necromorph outbreak soon ensues.

After suffering the trauma of these two outbreaks, Isaac decides to go into hiding by the time of this latest entry in the series. However, he soon finds out that it's impossible to hide from the scourge.

As the series progressed in setting from a mining vessel in a remote part of space to a space station orbiting Saturn, I really thought the next logical step would be a necromorph infestation on Earth itself. Instead we're taken back to the far reaches of the galaxy, to a Hoth-like ice planet called Tau Volantis. In retrospect, I suppose Earth has become a bit cliche lately, with games like Mass Effect 3 taking place here.

I like the brand of horror present in this series, as well as in some other games like F.E.A.R.: First Encounter Assault Recon (the kind of psychological mindf**k that, even once you turn the game off, has you warily questioning every little sound in the dark). Masochistic as it is for me to say so, I found myself continuing to play even though the game was scaring the s**t out of me. Dead Space 3 continues to pay off in that department.

As a sidebar, I'd like to have a little chat with the genius who decided that facilities and spacecraft of the future have some sort of need for person-sized ventilation shafts everywhere. Note to architects and engineers of the future: To help prevent the spread of necromorphs, maintain small ductwork!

Dead Space 3 brings a new level of weapon customization to the bench (as the crafting tables of the in-game universe are known). The first two had some customization, to be sure, but not to the extent that is present here. In this game, you can literally build a weapon from the frame up. I haven't really tried my hand at it yet, as I've become accustomed to using the trusty ol' plasma cutter, but I hope to in a subsequent playthrough.

Another new feature is the ability to play the game cooperatively with a friend. I hope to find one who owns the game, as there are large areas of the story mode that seem to be accessible only to co-op players. Having a second set of eyes (and, more importantly, a second gun), in my opinion, seems to be crucial to surviving.

I finished the game on the "hard" difficulty level, which is the recommended setting for those who have played the first two entries in the series. I now have the challenge of going through "impossible", or perhaps even "hardcore" mode (in which death results in restarting the game). I believe either to be detrimental to my sanity, but as George Mallory famously quipped about Everest, I still want to play through it "because it's there."
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