18 August 2014: What video games did you play this past week?
Amy
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It is time again to share with us all what video games you played this past week! What video games have you been playing?

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Videogames New To You August 2014
Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2014
Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2014

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1. Video Game: Payday: The Heist [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:3049]
Video Game: Payday: The Heist
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Played Got paid with Amy, Rudy and Andy. We completed Heat Street on Easy difficulty, since it's unforgiving as hell on Normal, and almost got through Panic Room.

I'm falling behind in Reputation levels a little, but hopefully we'll soon get to the point of team bonuses.
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2. Video Game: Team Fortress 2 [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:187]
Video Game: Team Fortress 2
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Played on the Halloween Payload Race map with Amy and Nick. Since Medic is no good with a team made up of mostly snipers and scouts, I went my own way with a soldier.
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3. Video Game: Saints Row IV [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:753]
Video Game: Saints Row IV
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I'm up to 35% through the game, still mostly through wandering around the city and completing side quests. I did get the fourth superpower though, and completed more main story missions.

For some reason, the main story puts you in a lot of situations where you don't actually use your powers. Maybe that's why I spend so much more time jumping over buildings and making aliens explode.
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4. Video Game: Rex Rocket [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
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Chris
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Chicago
Illinois
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Played and finished this, then played around a bunch, dropped a couple comments on the steam page, then chatted with the developer for a bit!

He was glad to hear I was telling him about problems, and I found a way to get around a certain area that he didn't think was possible and hadn't planned for. I should have suggested he let me be a playtester on his next game
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5. Video Game: Angband [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:888]
Video Game: Angband
the good times are killing me
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Kokomo
Indiana
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I've this on my Galaxy S3 since January or so (and the tablet I bought last week, but I like it better on the phone). I bring it out during meetings (when I have nothing to contribute) and at home while the TV is on. Currently I've got a Dunadan Mage at level 10. Maybe if I don't do something stupid he'll actually live until level 20 (that'd be a first).

Version 3.4.1 is what I'm playing, though I'm not enough of a connoisseur to know the intricacies of the different versions (Sil vs. NPP vs. Sangband). Vanilla is just where I started and what I've stuck to.
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6. Video Game: Orcs Must Die! [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:738]
Video Game: Orcs Must Die!
Andrew Hodkinson
Canada
Owen Sound
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Working my way through War Mage and Nightmare levels.
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7. Video Game: Tomb Raider (2013) [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:123]
Video Game: Tomb Raider (2013)
Alex
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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Been playing lots of this. It's a surprisingly short game, but I'm enjoying it for what it is. Mostly, I enjoy the exploring. Combat happens, but that's not why I'm playing.
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8. Video Game: The Secret of Monkey Island [Average Rating:8.31 Overall Rank:40]
Video Game: The Secret of Monkey Island
Ian S.
Canada
Saskatoon
Saskatchewan
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PS3

I needed to get the bad taste from my mouth after playing Deadpool, so I picked this up where I left off. The last I looked I am about 62% of the way through. Currently on the titular Island, in the village.

There was some Diablo III in there with my buddies, and I'll likely play it a couple more times before the weekend is out.
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9. Video Game: Fable: The Lost Chapters [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1342]
Video Game: Fable: The Lost Chapters
Adam
United States
Tempe
Arizona
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I've been playing quite a lot of this, and I believe I'm nearly done.
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10. Video Game: Out There [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:4459]
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Adam
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Tempe
Arizona
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I continue to play this awesome sci-fi rogue like / choose your own adventure on my Android phone. It's tough enough that I'll be surprised if I manage a win before the end of the year.
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11. Video Game: Pokémon Red and Blue [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:114] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
Video Game: Pokémon Red and Blue
Todd Pytel
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Chicago
Illinois
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I got the kids Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen along with GBA SP's last Christmas, but their reading was still just a bit too shaky to follow them. They recently got back into them in a big way, so I've been playing along with my own copy of FireRed on my DSL. My son was super-pumped to finally figure out how to capture Abra, and then even more excited when I showed him how to trade-evolve Kadabra into Alakazam. Very fun.

This inspired me to try a Nuzlocke run of Pokemon Y, and that's been quite an interesting challenge. For those unfamiliar with the challenge, the basic rules are 1) You can only catch the first poke you meet in each area, and 2) Any poke that faints is considered permanently dead. It makes the game a legitimate challenge, and it really hurts when you lose a valuable team member (which, according to tradition, must all be nicknamed in order to make it hurt more when they die).

I'm taking a little breather at the moment to get over the loss of Gabby the Gabite (named after one of my favorite former students). She was a tough fighter, but not tough enough at Lvl37 to survive a double-powered, STAB Assurance from a Lvl40 Liepard in the double battle at the end of the Poke Ball Factory. I'm sorry, Gabby... you could've been a Garchomp, but I failed you.
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12. Video Game: Darksiders II [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:879]
Video Game: Darksiders II
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
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Started to get into Darksider II. The scenery is pleasant, the dialogue inane, and some of the character models looks awful. A bit overwhelmed by the number of attack combos on offer. Playing with the WiiU Pro Controller.
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13. Video Game: inFAMOUS 2 [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:485]
Video Game: inFAMOUS 2
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Indiana
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About half-way into this.

This is one of those games that where you (or I, at least) have to play through the first hour, barely paying any attention, turn it off, come back in a day or two, play another surprisingly slow / unnecessary / disengaging hour, come back to it... and THEN it hits a modest stride. There are too many games like this. It's not exactly a chore to plow through the opening acts to Infamous 2, but it sure seems extraneous.

One thing that strikes me about the Infamous series is that they are probably the most well-optimized games on the PS3. Performance is silky smooth and load-times are ridiculously short. If you die, you're right back in the action. While not the most visually impressive game I've played on the console, Infamous 2 is well above-average and I wish more games could meet this standard for performance, not just graphics.

Gameplay is fun and polished, yet safe. I feel as if this game were made with an abundance of caution, with development driven by the need to avoid minor issues rather than the need to achieve big successes.

The overall context (characters, story, world, etc) is surprisingly anemic. Maybe it's because the ending to the original Infamous was so idiotic that they're just going through the motions. I'm not asking for gripping narrative, but sheesh, they could do so much better with this world and character. I don't even know how big budget games were/are still getting made that struggle this hard to immerse players and ignite their imagination.

So... as a freewheeling romp where you run amok a lightning god, it's solid. I'm not sure how many more "solid" games I'm willing to play.




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14. Video Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:436] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Video Game: Star Realms
Osirus
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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I finally downloaded and tried this because everyone has been talking about it. It's... basically Ascension with a new mechanic called "bases" where you attack each other instead of gathering vp. I like Ascension, so I enjoyed the first chapter of the campaign well enough, but all further chapters (along with, annoyingly, any multiplayer) require paying money. That was enough to put me off, and for now I'll stick with games that give you all the gameplay free up front (SolForge, Hearthstone) and remind myself to donate to them to support that kind of business model.
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15. Video Game: Organ Trail: Directors Cut [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:4520]
Video Game: Organ Trail: Directors Cut
Adam
United States
Tempe
Arizona
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I beat this earlier this morning. It's quite a fun old school homage to The Oregon Trail (1971). Even though it's brief, and a bit simple, I'll likely be playing it again.
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16. Video Game: Syberia [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:711]
Video Game: Syberia
Agent J
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Coldwater
Michigan
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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He's a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal of action. He's a furry little flat-foot who'll never flinch from a fray. He's got more than just mad skills, he's got a beaver tail and a bill.
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Boy did I ever play this.

All afternoon with the kids, basically, after a morning out to eat and shopping trip for soccer stuff to celebrate soccer season starting.

But we got through the entire area, basically, from 'I have no idea what to do' to 'oooooh we're finally moving on'. Then we did most of the next area, at least I think it's most. It seems like there's a lot more talking going on now. Saying the right things to people matters a lot more than I ever thought, and so I'm now using up all the dialog options I have.

Also,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Dan is an asshole. I would have dumped him. Hung up on him. Not spoken to him ever again. I guess I'm not good at letting people treat me like I'm a carpet.
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17. Video Game: Trials of Mana (1995) [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:809]
Video Game: Trials of Mana (1995)
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I finally have my desk and computer set up, and with my girlfriend leaving for a week starting this morning, I have some time to fill.

I started by playing less than an hour of Gigantic Army which I picked up in the recent humble weekly bundle. It reminded me of Metal Warriors for SNES which I've never really played much single-player, but I remember the different mechs being so cool, you guys, and wanted to re-live that coolness.

Well, indeed GA feels like it was designed in the 90s. The resolution cannot be changed from 640x480, and the design feels really dated. The enemies are mostly useless; many just stand there without shooting at you. It's not a very good game, but I probably will play it again just because it is close to being like something that I would want to play.

I was going to start an expedition into Dragon Age II which I have been anticipating for quite some time, but I am quite displeased to find that I cannot (natively) use a controller to play the PC version, despite the fact that the game was released on consoles. I don't know if I will try to hack together a solution (joy2key or some such), play with only mouse and keyboard (I've heard this game is quite a bit more console-y than DA: Origins, so would prefer a controller), or just find a copy of the game for Xbox 360 instead.

Instead, I started playing (the unofficial English translation of) Trials of Mana (1995) on an emulator. This game brings me back about 15 years ago; I'm not sure it would hold up otherwise. For those not familiar, it is a beat-em-up-action-rpg in the Secret of Mana series. A lot of the high-level concepts are really neat. You select a main character and two allies from a cast of six, and each has their own personal involvement with various parts of the story, as well as their own antagonist. You can change classes (as in one-or-the-other) at points in the game, and different classes offer different spells to use.

The nitty gritty, though, doesn't hold up very well. Like most jRPGs of the day, battles are frequent and mindless, with only bosses offering any tactical/reactive play. Battles are frequently hitting the attack button and being bombarded with a cloud of numbers on-screen.

The party I chose is Duran, Lise, and Carlie. I don't know what classes to choose for the characters come level 18, since Duran and Carlie have some overlap in skills.


Monday edit: I have started playing The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks on DS for my lunchtime game. So far it's not grabbing me; I think my interests may have grown away from Zelda, although frankly I think playing a handheld version of the franchise in 30 minute spurts is probably not the best way to experience it to begin with.

I also went to a friend’s place where we have started playing Halo 3 co-operatively. I’d played the two preceding games previously. Between the volume on her TV being low, and a long lapse between now and the last time I played a Halo game, we have no real idea what’s going on story-wise. All we know is that if the reticle turns red when you point it at someone, you are supposed to shoot them. I’m reminded how hard it is to play a co-op couch FPS where you only get half the screen to yourself.
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18. Video Game: Company of Heroes [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:148]
Video Game: Company of Heroes
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I (+ 1 US AI partner) finally beat the 2 Germans on the Wolfheze map. Man! Don't know if this map is so hard, if you start in the lower left corner, or I so bad. But finally I prevailed!

Lesson learned from previous map:
- don't concentrate on his base, concentrate on Victory Points.

Lessons learned from this map:
- don't keep concentrating on defending VPs, attack his base as soon as you have the upper hand
- when forced to choose between defending your AI partner's base under attack, or attacking your AI opponents base, the latter might often prove the better choice.
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19. Video Game: Civilization V [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:69]
Video Game: Civilization V
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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‘Well, at any rate, the Dormouse said—’ the Hatter went on, looking anxiously round to see if he would deny it too: but the Dormouse denied nothing, being fast asleep. ‘After that,’ continued the Hatter, ‘I cut some more bread-and-butter—’"
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"‘But what did the Dormouse say?’ one of the jury asked. ‘That I can’t remember,’ said the Hatter."
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Microbadge: CaliforniaMicrobadge: I love solo gaming!Microbadge: Master of Orion fanMicrobadge: VGG: Turn Based Games fanMicrobadge: Minnesota
Played with a random setup that pitted me, as the Eygptians, against five other powers on two continents. Japan and the Ottomans were on my continent; France, Germany, and China were on the other.

My immediate neighbors were quite belligerent from the start--especially the Ottomans. Luckily, I had advantages over them and was never in danger. Their military efforts ended up benefiting me. Halfway into the game I steamrolled over both of them and dominated the continent. I had to briefly fight Germany as well, as a German settler had slipped onto my continent during the war, and I wasn't about to tolerate the intruder.

My civ was rich in gold, culture, and technology. I could have won in all kinds of ways, but I opted for building the UN and winning an easy diplomatic victory. By then, all the city-states were in my pocket.

* * *
I also played some Master of Orion, but it was much harder even on Average level. I lost both games I played. In one I got voted out and realized I couldn't fight the verdict. In the other game, I did fight, but the tide turned so far against me that I finally had to give up.

* * *
One thing I love best about gaming is that I learn things about myself. The above games reminded me that I'd rather be bored than frustrated. Halfway through Civ V, I said to myself, "Man, this is boring!"--which is something I often end up feeling when I play that game--and yet I kept on playing, and I was pretty happy about it overall. Halfway through MOO, I said to myself, "Aargh, this is aggravating!"--and when I got fed up with cursing and growling, I finally shut the game down and walked off in a huff.

I like a moderate amount of resistance to make a game interesting. But I like to be able to win if I just avoid serious blunders and keep moving ahead. I'm much more confident in my stamina than my cleverness, and I find a game more pleasant when I can rely on the former.

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20. Video Game: Terraria [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:351]
Video Game: Terraria
Didn't think I would like this. I do. Too much. Addicting. I wish there was a linux port. I would buy it in a heartbeat.
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21. Video Game: HλLF-LIFE²: Episode One [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:143] [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked]
Video Game: HλLF-LIFE²: Episode One
Thomas Eager
United States
Portland
Oregon
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"A Book should serve as the Ax for the frozen sea within us."-- KAFKA
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Microbadge: Heavy Metal fanMicrobadge: Black Sabbath fanMicrobadge: SubmarineMicrobadge: I am amongst the dangerous elite!Microbadge: Alien Abductee
laugh I'm now on a quest to finish a few games I started but left off for whatever reason. In keeping with this, spent a lot of time with Half Life 2 Episode One...enough to beat it. Some really tough moments and dwindling ammo supplies make for a tense Dr. Freeman.
A bit of rescue work in ANNO 2070--my comms needs were crashing and Techs on the way to starving. Fixed now.
Finally, have made quite a bit of progress with my newest acquisition: Mark of the Ninja. laugh

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22. Video Game Genre: First Person Shooter
Video Game Genre: First Person Shooter
Enjoy some homing fireballs!
United States
Arlington
Texas
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I played a lot more Wrack, gunning for high scores and medals.

I also recorded this video of me running E1L2 and getting a Tyderium medal (equivalent to an "SSS-rank" in most games that have rankings): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O55jaj0CZtw
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23. Video Game: Red Dead Redemption [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:28]
Video Game: Red Dead Redemption
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Check out my first published board game: In the Name of Odin!
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Microbadge: I beat video games relentlessly and post my victories on VGG!Microbadge: I'm a GM!Microbadge: What the heck was I doing again?Microbadge: Game EvangelistMicrobadge: I abandon video games without mercy and post their flaws on VGG!
Haven't been around here for a while.

Playing a borrowed copy of RDR on my PS3, and having mixed feelings about it.

Also playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown and not having mixed feeling about it. I'm loving it. My long-time squad mate got killed by a Chrysalid and I had to kill his animated corpse with his long-term team-mates, 10/10 Really, I'm thinking about writing some session reports in fan-fiction form. The game is really just asking for it.

Other than that, finishing LEGO Marvel Super Heroes with my partner. I'm happy we're almost done, because the game is trying my patience at this point.

Hoping to get back to a few mainstays (Torchlight II, Path of Exile, Anno 2070!) soon, but I just don't have the time.
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24. Video Game: Payday: The Heist [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:3049]
Video Game: Payday: The Heist
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Thursday night, while I was minding my own business playing Shadowrun Returns... I got the call that I was needed for a Bank Job... and so joined a ragtag crew of misfits for a couple of heists.

Amy
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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Rudy
United States
No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
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SPOOOOON!!!
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It's V-Y not V-R
United States
Alabama
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オーケー・ブーマ
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As Matt said earlier, we completed "Heat Street" on easy difficulty, and then had a couple of attempts at "Panic Room" on Normal difficulty, but failed both times.

I'm still way behind the others in reputation though, having missed a few session early on in the games VGG_life_cycle.
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25. Video Game: Dino D-Day [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:4853]
Video Game: Dino D-Day
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Microbadge: The cake is a lie... But VGG's 5th birthday is not!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 5th birthday party!Microbadge: I was here for VGG's 10th birthday party!Microbadge: VGG Community - Why not join today?Microbadge: Video Game Geek of the Week
Friday night was Dino night as I jumped into a game of Dino D-Day with the following regulars:

Amy
United States
Phoenix
Arizona
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Rudy
United States
No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
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Spoon?
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SPOOOOON!!!
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Alex
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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Again this was a lot of fun for a pretty silly game about Axis and Allied troops fighting it out with Dinosaurs as well as soldiers!
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