31 July - 6 August 2017: What video games are you playing this week?
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1. Video Game: Talisman: Digital Edition [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1683] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Video Game: Talisman: Digital Edition
Rudy
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Pennsylvania
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Talisman - Playing with Mike and getting my butt kicked by the AI. Mike won our second game.

Tales of Monkey Island - Finishing the last chapter of this game up.

Rocket League - Playing this with a lot of VGGers lately.

Path of Exile - The new league starts and six new acts get released on Friday. Yay!

TF2 - Reinstalled and playing this a little bit.

Payday 2 - Playing this with the VGG gang.

Unreal Tournament (2017) - Played with a few VGGers.
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2. Video Game: Wasteland 2 [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:724]
Video Game: Wasteland 2
Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Trying to get better suits.
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3. Video Game: Nintendo Land [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1101]
Video Game: Nintendo Land
Joakim Schön
Sweden
Alingsås
Sverige
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Still trying to dance perfect.
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4. Video Game: Final Fantasy XV [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1193] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Video Game: Final Fantasy XV
Todd Pytel
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Just entered Chapter 8. The story has been slowly creaking into gear over the last few chapters. There are some effective villains and other NPC's now. There have been some attempts to develop a couple of the PC's - halfhearted ones, but better than nothing. The storyline quests have developed beyond "Fetch!" Noct made a genuinely funny joke. I spotted an obscure, functionally useless environmental detail that demonstrated actual imagination from whatever dev put it there. These are all welcome developments.

The game is still full of frustrating quirks and missed opportunities, and the combat is still very hit-or-miss and not at all what I'd consider strategic. But I'll upgrade my estimation of XV from "not a FF game" to "a weak FF game" at this point.
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5. Video Game: Battlefield 1 [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1334]
Video Game: Battlefield 1
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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With Jan's pushing, I decided to try some multiplayer gaming. It's been quite awhile.

I reinstalled all 61 gigabytes of BF1 and gave it a third try. When it first came out the balance was terrible. Snipers pretty much owned the game, which is really lame.

I tried it a few months after launch with the same results.

Tonight, I tried it again and after 8 months it seems they got the weapons finally balanced. The rifles are stronger than handguns. Snipers do not own the world, and well I played for over an hour and looking forward to doing it some more down the line.

Could Battlefield be back? A little too early to decide, but I hope it is. Because I sank over 150 hours in BF4 and 110 in BF3. Would love to have some great multi-FPS going again.

Thanks, Jan. Multiplayer gaming can be quite awesome!

UPDATE: I hate this game. If you give it any decent time, after a few hours it reveals how shallow it is compared to other BF games. Terrible spawning, shotguns way OP, premium weapons way more powerful than standard guns.

The game is a random mess. Plus there are all these missions to unlock things that do not reward you for playing the objective, so teammates and enemies are focused on doing stupid stuff just to unlock these things.

1 outta 10. Hate this game. Back to BF4.
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6. Video Game: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri [Average Rating:8.27 Overall Rank:55]
Video Game: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
p55carroll
United States
Minnesota
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Guess I can count this game for this week, since I was up until 1 a.m. finishing it. It turned out to be the last game I played last week and the first game I played this week.

After some disappointing losses in MOO and MOO2, I resumed my SMAX game in progress. I was expecting to lose that too, since I had left off in a bad position. But I persisted and managed to turn things around.

I was playing as Chairman Yang, who usually needs to create an expansive empire. But I started in a cramped position--on a small land mass connected by a narrow causeway to a somewhat bigger land mass. By the time I made preparations to sail over to a real continent, I had run into competition.

Sister Miriam and her True Believers (the most aggressive faction in the game) were right next door and had been taking over everything. Before I could do much, they had eliminated the Gaians, University, and Morganites. They had also taken over the Spartan and Peacekeeper heartlands, and those two factions had only a few small bases left.

I made a pact with the Spartans and went to war with the Believers, and I managed to take over one base on Miriam's continent and hold it. For the next one or two hundred turns, I was fending off fanatical Believer legions. What pulled me through was air power: the Believers were late getting it and then slow to use it. I pretty much had command of the skies for the rest of the game, encountering only a few Believer air units.

However, no one discovered drop troops (paratroopers or soldiers dropping in from orbit), so I had to rely on regular infantry and armor to capture enemy bases. It was a long haul.

My Spartan and Peacekeeper allies were too weak to do me any good; I was pretty much on my own. Miriam continued to drum up fierce waves of attackers, so I periodically had to hunker down and defend. But, very slowly, I started capturing Believer bases and pushing the enemy back.

Meanwhile, I continued to develop new tech and modernize my units. Miriam's fundamentalist philosophy held her back in that respect, so my troops usually outclassed hers. Around midnight, I knew victory was at hand; I just had to keep going.

Brother Lal of the Peacekeepers didn't trust me, though; he broke our pact, and I had to fight him after forcing Miriam to surrender. It was just a mopping-up operation, but his bases were on distant islands, so it took time to prepare. Finally, when he was down to just one base on one little island, he surrendered; then Planet was at last unified under the Hive banner.

Hooray for the Hive! Going to bed at 1 a.m. when my alarm goes off at 5 a.m. probably wasn't such a good idea, though. Now it's nearly 8 a.m., and I've just finished breakfast, so it's time to get dressed and head in late for work. (Gotta take my car to the shop first, though.)

I'm still enthused about SMAX, though. It's my kind of game (and yeah, better than any version of Civilization I've played).
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7. Video Game: OneShot [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:4849]
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Colorado
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Streamed this game this past week.

And... I was really impressed. An almost purely narrative experience with meaning and feeling. Takes clear inspiration from the flawed-but-interesting experiences in Yume Nikki & OFF while solidly improving on them.

Difficult to give any specific details about what really made this game a special experience due to how easily certain aspects can be spoiled, but I'll give a solid general recommendation to play through it and enjoy without looking anything up about it.

For more general comments: Humor was enjoyable throughout. Story wasn't the deepest, but remained interesting and impactful. Music was good and fit the game well (though isn't as exciting outside the game's context). Pixel art is simple but charming, and features some very nicely drawn cutscenes.

There's decent attention to detail, and trying weird things will often evoke an appropriate game response. Gameplay is mostly shallow but serviceable - fairly basic adventure puzzles and fetch-item-for-progression, but fit pacing well and wasn't especially frustrating or tedious.

An experience I won't soon forget.
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8. Video Game: Payday 2 [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1724]
Video Game: Payday 2
Andy
United Kingdom
Manchester
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Sunday night heisting with:

Jan
Belgium
De Haan
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Rudy
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Pennsylvania
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Germany
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When I joined we were stealthing Shadow Raid on Mayhem difficulty... we then did Aftershock loud on Mayhem and finally Hoxton Breakout on Overkill.

Jan, Rudy and I all went infmaous on Friday night while we were showing my brother the ropes... so we are all now trying to get XP to get back to level 100.
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9. Video Game: Warhammer Quest [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1186] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Video Game: Warhammer Quest
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Manchester
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Still playing this in my solo gaming time. Finally levelled my Marauder up to level 6 last night.
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10. Video Game: Fighting Fantasy Legends [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Fighting Fantasy Legends
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Manchester
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I picked this up in pre-order a few weeks ago, as I have fond memories of the FF Books (I used to own many of the books back when I was growing up... though I never played many of them seriously), and I also want to support local gaming developers, Nomad Games who created the digital edition of Talisman.

The game released last week, so I've been playing it on and off in my solo gaming time. It's well done, but it suffers badly from RNG.. e.g. in combat and skill tests you roll a number of dice, most of which only have a success on 1 side!! Consequently I've died so many times.. and the penalty for failure... additional curse symbols on your first dice! Making it even harder!
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11. Video Game: Pillars of Eternity [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:324]
Video Game: Pillars of Eternity
Bobby F.
United States
Henrico
Virginia
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Finally getting into this. Just left the starting town having done the dungeon inside it.
I'm getting more into it the deeper I go.
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12. Video Game: Pyre [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:2138]
Video Game: Pyre
I've played several hours of Supergiant Games' new game and it's their worst one yet. Which is to say it isn't as remarkably excellent as all 2 of the games that they have made so far.

The core game play here is a kind of 3-on-3 Basketball. Ugh..any game that requires me to control a ball usually ends up with the infielders playing catch for awhile before ditching the ball down the third base line. But considering I've lost only 1 match out of 8, so far, Means either I'm not as bad as I thought I was or that normal difficulty is too easy. I suspect the later as catch gets played and players try to abandon the field every now and then.

The rest of the game is you traveling around to the different arenas and the drama that occurs with your teammates. So it is still early in that regard as characters are still being introduced. But I am interested in seeing where this goes.

I won't talk about the graphics or the music as that is pretty much as expected.

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13. Video Game: Rise of the Tomb Raider [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:583]
Video Game: Rise of the Tomb Raider
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Played the free Trial, in anticipation of getting the full game. Had a blast, this is just the kind of Tomb Raider I like. I like the intro a lot more than that in Tomb Raider (2013), it harks back to earlier games. The traps are a bit cheap and I'm a bit disappointed I can't reassign the shooting controls, but all in all I'm loving it
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14. Video Game: Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (Game Boy) [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
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United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Was reminded of this game from the thread about immersive Star Trek experiences (VGG QOTD 2017 July 25 - Which video game provides of the best Star Trek experience or immersion?) -- namely because this one is pretty much the exact opposite of that. It's even worse when you consider that the other Star Trek 25th Anniversary (Amiga/DOS/Mac) game is considered one of the best.

Beyond being very silly and shoot 'em up for a Trek game -- even as a TOS game! -- this one is also way more difficult than it has any right to be, mostly because of the sluggish controls and spotty hit detection. Enterprise does not move well, making it hard to avoid the Klingon cruisers and their (assuming) disruptors and photon torpedoes. The other space stages (asteroid fields and SPACE AMOEBA) (not to be confused with the Toho daikaiju film Space Amoeba AKA Yog, Monster From Space) are somewhat easier to negotiate. Have not made it to a planet for an Away Team mission yet.

For extra fun I made sure to play it in OG Game Boy Pea Soup green!

And now, as a thank you for reading this, it's time for some Star Trekkin':

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15. Video Game: Might & Magic X: Legacy [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:4153]
Video Game: Might & Magic X: Legacy
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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I had installed this a while ago, but didn't really play it much. I loaded it up to play it some more to check out what they did with the first dungeon area under the city you start in (looking for ideas for an RPG/board game I'm running with my kids).

I ended up playing it for several hours, traveling through the overworld to a lighthouse taken over by naga and snake people, and beating the first real boss enemy. I'm quite digging this RPG.

If you are at all familiar with the classic Might & Magic RPGs, like World of Xeen or Isles of Terra, then you already know the gist of the gameplay in this one. It plays very similarly to Might and Magics III through V, but it seems to have taken heavy inspiration from Legend of Grimrock in its presentation and several other gameplay mechanics, like the UI and style of dungeon puzzles, though this game doesn't get anywhere near as puzzly as Grimrock does. Combat in this one is turn-based, which I like much better than Grimrock's dance-like real-time combat. I'm quite liking it so far.
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16. Video Game: Company of Heroes [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:148]
Video Game: Company of Heroes
Agent J
United States
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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Had my first problem with this game. Played it with Pat and I couldn't scroll via mouse down or to the right, but the left and up worked fine. As that's how I've always scrolled it made the game really hard to play, but against normal difficulty it wasn't so bad. They had a huge jump on us though as I tried to fix it for the first 30 seconds of the game and didn't get any units out until way too late. I never felt comfortable with the game and I really didn't have a good time. I think I'll be moving over to COH2 full time now. Sorry challenge.
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17. Video Game: Total War: Warhammer [Average Rating:8.20 Overall Rank:1239]
Video Game: Total War: Warhammer
Agent J
United States
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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Microbadge: Rolling Stock fan - game end cardMicrobadge: Phineas and Ferb fanMicrobadge: ChristianMicrobadge: I read the Babylon Bee!Microbadge: Rocket League fan
Had my first battle in this game and it's still a Total War game. Played with Pat. We played on the same side and we both sucked at it. The map had a huge hill on the East and water rivulets on the west. I had a cavalry army and that was a bad idea. They require more micro than I could muster on a new game, and that meant my leaders weren't doing their thing very well either.

I think that was just the wrong strategy for me.
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18. Video Game: Dark Cloud [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1862]
Video Game: Dark Cloud
Dave B
Scotland
Glasgow
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Birthday present! Probably another one of the seven million games I own that I'll never finish from sorely lacking patience and focus, he says, having completed SSX 3 earlier today.

Restored about... 65% of the first town? It's become quite bustling for a JRPG town already!

F**k Floor 11 of the first dungeon... no Atlas spheres to help restore the town, linear, you control a creepy anime cat-human girl with a slingshot so weak I swear my own actual real world fists would do more damage... oh, and Dragons.

Dragons... imagine playing, say, Doom, and having to fight a Cyberdemon with just the pistol, BUT the Cyberdemon's rockets are now as difficult to avoid and damaging as an Imp's fireball, if not easier and weaker still.

I had to go through such a fight twice (because two Dragons, not because I had to retry the combat). But I finally got past that infernal level.

Well, I understand the beginning part of the game is the low point, and it only gets better from there... cool.
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19. Video Game: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 5 [Average Rating:9.26 Overall Rank:128] [Average Rating:9.26 Unranked]
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Железный комиссар
United States
Indiana
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Started playing this one yesterday. Only two hours in - so far I'm cautiously optimistic.

The visual style is exceptionally well done. The music is a noticeable downgrade from previous Persona games though, and that's tough to overlook or feel good about. The pacing is slower than I would have thought off the bat - I'm two hours in and still haven't done something as ordinary as attending class. I'm also finding the main character's backstory a little hard to take seriously, as well as the stark contrast between his misunderstood good intentions and the one-dimensional harshness of all of the adults around him.

Hopefully it all clicks. TBH, if there was an HD version available I'd probably ditch this and go replay Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES.

In other news, I've hit level 20 in Borderlands 2. Very cool game so far. Still has the same issues with overleveling that were in the first game, though.
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20. Video Game: Shovel Knight [Average Rating:8.21 Overall Rank:192]
Video Game: Shovel Knight
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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I played Shovel Knight co-op with my son for a bit. He likes Shovel Knight, and I thought this may be a way for us to beat levels together. I don't think co-op makes it any easier though; it seems to actually make the game more difficult, since the camera tries to keep both of you in view and your attacks can hit each other. You don't actually get hurt from your teammate, but it knocks you off balance, and you can't simply run through each other, either. There seems to be a bit of a competitive element added in co-op, and when you beat a level, both players are rated against each other depending on how they did. It's interesting, and I'm glad the co-op exists, but I wish you could at least turn off the ability to hinder each other. It is easy to accidentally kill each other with all the bottomless pits around in some levels.
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21. Video Game: Gauntlet (2014) [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:1663]
Video Game: Gauntlet (2014)
T'Leynti / Leonie
Netherlands
Oud-Beijerland
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You proceed from a false assumption. I am a Vulcan. I have no ego to bruise.
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Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level VI -  Is six any more shiny? ... Well, it's one shinier isn't it? ... Okay, why don't you just make five a bit more shiny and then that would be the most shiny? ... Because these go to six.Microbadge: Doctor Who fan - Vote Saxon [X]Microbadge: Doctor Who fan - David Tennant, 10th DoctorMicrobadge: Doctor Who fan - Patrick Troughton, 2nd DoctorMicrobadge: Oh, brilliant!
Played Gauntlet today after my vacation and got to try out Lilith the Necromancer aided by Dean as a Valkyrie. Alone I got beaten up so quickly but together it got better. Valkyrie used to be my favourite, I think Lilith is a possible next favourite if not my number one soon!
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22. Video Game: Last Dream [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:5940]
Video Game: Last Dream
Adam
United States
Tempe
Arizona
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"We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can't think what anybody sees in them."
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Microbadge: City of Chaos fanMicrobadge: Monster Hunter fanMicrobadge: Christian UniversalistMicrobadge: Swords & Wizardry RPG fanMicrobadge: My lover is also a BGG user
After abandoning Resident Evil 2 (1998) due to it bugging out on me and seemingly giving my poor, old PS2 fits, I started a new play through of this neat little tribute to Square Enix's early catalogue. I have a feeling I may make it all the way through, this time!
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23. Video Game: Horizon Zero Dawn [Average Rating:8.77 Overall Rank:97] [Average Rating:8.77 Unranked]
Video Game: Horizon Zero Dawn
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Finished this up last night. I skipped most of the side quests and errands, and it still took 30 hours.

I had a great time. 9 outta 10. The main story was something special.
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24. Video Game: Air Zonk [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Video Game: Air Zonk
c 5
United States
Baton Rouge
Louisiana
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They released this for Wii U last week. I used that as an excuse to play it again. I've never quite beaten the game. Stage 2 is still my favorite.

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25. Video Game: The Legend of Zelda [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:89] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Video Game: The Legend of Zelda
J Piñata
United States
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Went old skool this past weekend. SMB 1 & 2 and Zelda. I forgot how fun they are even today!
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