29 July - 4 August 2019: What video games are you playing this week?
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Tell us what you're playing, how much progress you've made, what you like, and what you dislike this week.

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Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2019
Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2019
Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2019

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1. Video Game: Stardew Valley [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:155]
Video Game: Stardew Valley
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I have a furnace now, I've sold a variety of crops, and I've investigated a few levels of the mine.

I've also given some gifts to people. They weren't always appreciated. One of the kids liked the chunk of coral I gave her, though.
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2. Video Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses [Average Rating:8.45 Overall Rank:1354] [Average Rating:8.45 Unranked]
Video Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
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I haven't done much more past the first half hour, but with this game out now, that's what I'll be playing a lot of these next couple weeks. I do appreciate that they make blatantly clear what the characters of the three houses are since it sounds like I have to choose one of them.

I'm also playing more Super Mario Maker 2 and built another versus level that I think will be much better suited for multiplayer versus. 4 players are forced into separate tracks, which they must then race through. It works for any number of players and the tracks are identical, with the end using doors and pipes to give everybody an equal opportunity to reach the end.
[4P vs] The Ascent
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I'm also honored to have been selected for this week's Video Game Geek of the Week! So I'll be spending some time there as well.
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3. Video Game: Tomb Raider (1996) [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:530]
Video Game: Tomb Raider (1996)
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Going back to my childhood classics that I was too much of an inattentive and hyperactive runt to actually finish. Ended up beating this game for the first time in my entire life. It wasn't nearly as confusing or complicated as I thought it was going to be, I just think I wasn't really in the mood for taking too long to get to the next area as a kid.
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4. Video Game: Brave Fencer Musashi [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:1994]
Video Game: Brave Fencer Musashi
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Ended up playing another childhood classic that I barely scratched the surface of despite many hours of play. Just like with Tomb Raider before it, I beat the game for this first time ever. I liked it quite a bit as well but I wasn't a huge fan of some of the boss fights or riddles in this game. The riddle to locate the sky temple is somewhat arbitrary and overly difficult, that makes you focus on aspects of the game that otherwise were irrelevant (specifically the calendar day in that game) and... to my understanding doesn't really advise on where the sky crest is specifically, I ended up just finding it because I had gone there at a previous point before I should have and I just relocated it from memory. The queen ant boss fight was also tedious since the objective is actually pretty obvious, but it felt like nothing was being done when the queen kept shooting out larvae over and over again. It just turns out you gotta keep killing waves and waves of larvae until the weak point shows up.

Overall, good game, and one of the few PS1 games that I played as a kid that really holds up, but it has its issues.

Edit: I feel obligated to end this post on a good note because the game really deserves it. The game really is awesome, so I'd certainly recommend giving it a go for anyone that remembers it fondly from their childhood or just wants to play a few more retro games (ps1 is considered retro at this point, right?)
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5. Video Game: iRacing [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
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Gabe Hawkins
United States
Virginia
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I'm currently 8th in points. We're headed into week 8 of the season, and while I'm still dealing with a win drought since week 1, I currently sit 9th in points in the top division of 500 drivers. I had a rough day of driving a few days ago where I constantly got wrecked despite running well. Fortunately, I've managed to finish much better since then. I've also been jumping into an occasional test and ghost race for the Class D/C K&N series.

My initial plan was to jump to late models after this street stock season. But that series is "open" setup, meaning you create the setup of the car. I've been looking into it and learning a lot in the process, but I got some advice from Ray Alfalla -- a professional iRacer -- that changed my course. He recommended sticking to fixed series until I learn to consistently drive each track correctly. The logic is that if you're building a setup while you're also improving your driving skills, sometimes you'll think a setup helped make you faster when in reality you're just getting better at driving the track. So while the jump to K&N doesn't make much sense in the real world, it makes a lot of since for the sim.

I entered a ghost race at Stafford speedway which is a very challenging track. I was about half a second off the qualifying pace, but managed to run about mid pack during the race, so I've got a bit of work to do. But practice makes perfect, so I'm looking forward to the new challenge, especially since I feel I'm starting to peak in street stocks. My win total isn't where I want it, but I've also been screwed out of probably 5 or 6 wins. Such is life in the rookie class.
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6. Video Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses [Average Rating:8.45 Overall Rank:1354] [Average Rating:8.45 Unranked]
Video Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Gabe Hawkins
United States
Virginia
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I got a code for this game for free which is great since I was planning to buy it anyway. I downloaded it late last night and managed to play for about 45 minutes before I got too sleepy to continue. So far, it has been very enjoyable, but not much has happened since it's a lot of story setup and tutorials. A few things did stick out during those first few minutes with the game though.

I love the anime-style cutscenes. They're beautifully done and remind me of Persona 5. The combat is typical Fire Emblem, but it looks like there will be a fair amount of depth and differing strategies available to the player, which is exciting. On the other hand, the game does look a little rough around the edges at times during handheld mode. It's certainly not terrible but definitely noticeable. I'm sure I'll get used to it and won't care after I get deeper into the game, however. I haven't tried it in docked mode, but I'm sure it looks great. Additionally, the voice acting has been a bit meh, not that these games are known for great voice acting. Also, I had no idea there was some controversy going on with the voice actor for the male version of the player character, but apparently there is. Nintendo is going to/did remove his voice, evidently. My character hasn't spoken yet, so I'm guessing it has already been done. From a player perspective, not really a big deal, but it sort of adds to a bit of awkwardness during character conversations.

I'm very excited to spend more time with this game. It has been one of my most anticipated releases for the year!
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7. Video Game: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:171] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
Video Game: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Andrew Hodkinson
Canada
Owen Sound
Ontario
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Finished Chapter 0 and am into Chapter 1. Also in the middle of Sword of Destiny short story collection. I'm not clicking with either medium yet, but it is coming along.
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8. Video Game: Age of Wonders III [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2546]
Video Game: Age of Wonders III
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Minnesota
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I'm playing a bigger game than usual--medium map with subterranean level, four rivals, Lord (medium) level. My random leader is Laryssa, a human sorcerer.

I got off to a good start, as it seemed I had the whole northwest quadrant of the map to myself, on both levels. But after expanding into most of it, a dwarven theocrat, Brenn, declared war on me.

Soon, Sanhild, the frostling high queen defeated another AI player (an orc rogue), so she had no doubt gained some prime real estate in his former domain. I rushed to attack Brenn.

I caught up with her in the southwest corner of the surface level and soundly defeated her two armies with my three. Next, I was going to head underground to capture her throne city, but she surrendered.

Good deal, since Sanhild had just captured a seal. I'd forgotten that I activated all the victory conditions when I set up the game, including the seals victory. Capture a seal (guarded by elementals), and you start earning victory points as long as you hold it; first player to accumulate 40 VPs wins. There are five seals on my map, and two were close together in the domain of one of my central cities. So I had my armies converge there.

Several turns later, I had captured those two seals and spotted another just to the north. So I went and got that one too.

Meanwhile I scouted around the underground and finally found the rival who'd been hidden to me all game--a dwarven rogue, Svengir the Golden. He wouldn't make peace, but he was at war with Sanhild. That was good for me.

Not for long, though. I tried making peace, but it was no go. In fact, he and Sanhild, seeing that I now had three seals and they only had one each, declared war on me. Now I just need to defend the seals I've captured and hold them for eleven turns. Svengir is pretty far away (and may still be at war with Sanhild; I'll have to check), so I'm not worried about him. But Sanhild is strong and close to the seals.

We'll see how it turns out. But another victory path I left on is the unifier victory. I don't think anybody has been building unifier beacons, so I'm probably OK. But there's an outside chance another player could win that way.

AoW3 is one of the very best games I've ever played, btw. Quite satisfying for the strategic planner, the tactical commander, the role-player, and even the logistician. Something for everybody.
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9. Video Game: Kingdom Come: Deliverance [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:2234]
Video Game: Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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After restarting with the completed patch, things have been rolling along. I hope this game stays stable, because I'm digging it. Leveled up lockpicking by practicing on the miller's chest, until it stopped allowing free picking attempts.

Got cleaned up with a bath and got all my clothes laundered. Cost me 1/6 of all my funds, then dirtied them all up digging a grave.

Leveled up my first few perks. Kind of frightening there is a perk for helping carry dead bodies around. I didn't choose that one. Course that could be the most important if I become a medieval Agent 47.
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10. Video Game: Horizon Chase [Average Rating:9.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Horizon Chase
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Playing the turbo version. On to Chile. Got another Super Trophy, this time with one of my least used vehicles. Pretty much all the vehicles so far.. through 6 of them, they're all comptetitive on at least some tracks.
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11. Video Game: Lumo [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Lumo
Simon Hammar
Sweden
Täby
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Platform: Nintendo Switch

Isometric adventure game. Done as a homage to old Spectrum games.

I'm a bit divided about this. On one hand, it's a game that should be just for me – I LOVED Head over Heels (and it's very very obvious in several ways that the designers of Lumo intended it to be an homage to HoH). It plays in the same way, it's well done, it's beautiful. And I like running around in the rooms, looking for stuff.

On the other hand, it borrows too much from the modern "You've got infinite lives anyway, so why the hell care?" design. The game allows you to play on "adventure mode" (infinite lives + saves) and "old school mode" (finite lives, no saves), but the level design is much too hard, and the game much too long, to try old school mode before you've already completed the game. Seeing exactly where an item is, is one of the weak parts with an isometric game, and some of the navigating you need to do to pick up some of the things require a trial-and-error which will soon kick you backinto a tedious "replay the first 20 minutes AGAIN" loop. Which just simply isn't fun.

However, switching to adventure mode, the lack of value to your deaths makes the game slightly uninspiring. Also, I've encountered several "now you can't go back"-areas, which I really don't like. It's clearly a game that's made to replay, so it needs to be pretty short. I haven't reached the end yet, so I don't know.

I would really have liked hem having SOME sort of save for the old school mode. A game without a save shouldn't be more than one hour of playtime from start to end, and Lumo seems to be longer, so "old school" mode seems to be mainly for masochists, which is sad, as it works much better. Had they had some checkpoint saves, like Head over Heels had, it would have worked much better.
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12. Video Game: Mighty Switch Force! [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:3663]
Video Game: Mighty Switch Force!
Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Mighty Switch Force! - 3DS eShop edition played on my 2DS.

Cleared out the final Bonus Stage (5), which ended up being similar to Incident 16, where you could not control when the blocks switched. But was much less difficult than Incident 16, so it didn't take me nearly as long to clear.
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13. Video Game: Final Fantasy Tactics [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:52]
Video Game: Final Fantasy Tactics
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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I had put this down for a bit because I got hung up on trying to do all the side quest tavern errands before moving on, which was a big mistake. In chapter 4, there are just SO MANY errands all over the place, and it isn't like I need the money, so I finally decided to continue on with the main story. I did the mission where I opened the sluice gate, and Cid Orlandeau just joined my party, which means I need to decide which of my standard party members to replace. I have two non-story-related characters I regularly use, a master Ninja/Monk and a nearly master Black/Time mage. They are both great, but I think Cid will be better once I get him some good abilities from other jobs. Probably he'll replace the Ninja/Monk, who is great for dealing direct physical damage, but he's kind of a glass cannon since Ninja's don't have a lot of HP for a fighter class.

So far, the one thing I dislike about the WotL version of FFT is that Luso from FFT-Advance 2 gets thrown at you as an extra party member halfway through the game. He somehow time travelled to your time and he just joins your party for no real reason after you save him from monsters. I wouldn't mind if you had to find him with some concerted effort, like Cloud Strife, but the encounter with Luso is literally unavoidable during the main story, which is dumb.

That's my only real complaint, though. I love the game.
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14. Video Game: Starcraft II Battle Chest [Average Rating:8.75 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.75 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Starcraft II Battle Chest
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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I have been playing the StarCraft II: Nova/Spec Ops campaign, which is shorter than the main 3 campaigns, but still seems to be a decent length. I'm about halfway through right now, and it is nice to play some new SCII missions. This game really has the most polished, impressively done, and FUN single player missions of any traditional-style RTS game, in my opinion. You get some fun abilities in this campaign, like a neverending supply of free nukes, the ability for reapers or tanks to lay spider mines, or the ability for goliaths or siege tanks to jump up/down cliffs, or permanently cloaked banshees.
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15. Video Game: The Talos Principle [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:577]
Video Game: The Talos Principle
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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Other stuff I played:

The Talos Principle VR
My main save game was replaced by my kids', so instead of basically starting over, I decided to play through the Demo and the Short Demo, which are both set in the medieval castle world. Pretty and satisfying, if a bit easy compared to the puzzles where I was at in the main game.


TitanFall 2
I loaded this up a couple times to play some multiplayer, but it didn't find a game before I lost interest and went to play something else. Too bad EA's multiplayer game matchmaking just doesn't work very well nowadays for games that aren't the newest popular thing. A server browser would fix this problem for this game and the Star Wars Battlefront games.

Video Game: Beat Saber


Beat Saber
Beat Saber is always fun, and they added a few new free songs to the game recently. It does seem that the base difficulty of songs is steadily going up over time. "Hard" in the newer songs is about as hard as "expert" mode in the originals.

Video Game: Star Trek: Bridge Crew


Star Trek: Bridge Crew
I picked up this game on sale, along with "the Next Generation" DLC because it looks neat. I've only played through some of the training mission, and dabbled in a couple single-player missions, and it looks amazing. There is a lot of detail and a lot of stuff going on at once.

Video Game: Secret of Mana (2018)


Secret of Mana (2018)
This is a fun JRPG to play co-operatively. I've been playing it with my boys, and we are currently at a living wall type of boss that instantly kills us all when it pushes us into spikes. I'm thinking I may have to either level up a bit before beating it, or fight the wall by myself since one of my boys mostly plays around and doesn't make all his attacks at the right times.
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16. Video Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses [Average Rating:8.45 Overall Rank:1354] [Average Rating:8.45 Unranked]
Video Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Ryan S
United States
Dallas
Texas
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What!? I finally get my very own video game, but it's a mobile game?!
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I haven't played this much because I've surprisingly been working a lot on my Unity game project, but I am enjoying it. I've only just started the second battle in the game, which happens a little ways in, but there is a lot of character introductions to get through because of the 3 groups.

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17. Video Game: Street Fighter V [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:3967]
Video Game: Street Fighter V
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United States
Indiana
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The Evolution Championship Series goes live in 3.5 days! I don't envy the competitors dealing with a real-life locust swarm in Vegas, but I'll be trying to keep up with all the hype matches on stream.





As I did last week, I'll share a recent high-level SFV match. This one is from the Game Over international premiere held in the Dominican Republic three weeks ago.



Match Context: Rashid is almost universally recognized as the strongest character in the game, and Taiwanese competitor Oil King has been among the very best Rashid mains since the launch of the game. Kage is the most recent addition to the SFV cast, and is essentially "Evil Ryu" (no-one really knows why they renamed him, since Evil Ryu was actually in previous games). He is universally thought to be outside of the Top 15, and only one player in the world posts any significant results with him.

That player turns out to be Sako, a beloved Japanese competitor of more than two decades who is famous for having possibly the best technical execution in the history of fighting games. He's the underdog here, and this match goes down to the wire.
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18. Video Game: Super Mega Baseball [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked]
Video Game: Super Mega Baseball
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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Extra innings.

I won the league championship, woo!

The game is pretty easy at 55 ego so that's fine. That's the difficulty level. I don't think I can go much higher and still win consistently. I went to 70 Ego for a exhibition match. I lost, but it was 6-3 over 5 innings, so maybe I could have won in 9. I doubt it. I lost serious run support and they're getting more runs. I think 60 or 65 would be all right.

Anyway, doing a full season is always fun in any game, I think, and a good stopping point. I do like baseball, and I do like the game, but if you shut it off in the middle of the game it doesn't save, it just gives you a loss.
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19. Video Game: Demon's Souls (2009) [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:145]
Video Game: Demon's Souls
Enjoy some homing fireballs!
United States
Arlington
Texas
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Finally getting around to it.

I have to say, with the benefit of having beaten all three Dark Souls games, the reputation Demon's Souls had at release of being absolutely murderous is kind of hilarious. Just killed Phalanx, and so far the only ways I've died were once to Vanguard (didn't want to use any Moon Grass because I didn't realize it would be abundant) and by checking to see if I could jump down a certain pit and survive (I couldn't). The amount of healing the game gives you, at least early, is just totally over-the-top; if it doesn't get a lot stingier than this soon, I won't be able to imagine how you could possibly die without getting one-shotted.
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20. Video Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition [Average Rating:9.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:9.02 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition
Jørgen K
Denmark
Copenhagen S
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Keeping calm and carrying on!

20+ hours in and kinda got tired of swamping side quests - so I left for the big city to meet Triss in Novigrad and... okay; I liked Oxenburg better! Novograd is a cesspool - scum and riff-raff - religions people and thieves everywhere. The only nice thing about Novigrad is the Strumpets walking around the street and when you try to talk with them they say Meeeoooow (seriously that is something the Catman likes!). But can you plough them? No! Geralt lost some of his charm now that he his head-over-heels again with Yennefer... But I kinda knew this would happen; The "notch in the belt" (the Collectors cards) after each new female... encounter from The Witcher was lost in The Witcher 2 and having sex in that game wasn't therefore really exciting despite the ladies constant nagging because of the famed potents that Witchers are claimed have.

I can't find anything about politics to complaint about in the game - at least not yet laugh

But I have been doing some more Gwent but frankly... I'd rather do the Free-Fighting minigames - I quite enjoy kicking the peasants in the teeth
But I am not a very good Witcher - too much morale; after a fight where someone wanted me to loose, I still knocked him down - and gave him 5 Crowns (or 20 - I don't remember, but I think it was five) so he could feed his family as be was blabbering on about.
Also too often I have decided to let people keep their reward because they needed it more than I did.

But it was good to get out of the swamps - even if there still are plenty of places to explore and quests to do there
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21. Video Game: Mario Sports Superstars [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Luke Jaconetti
United States
Simpsonville
South Carolina
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Mario Sports Superstars -- Played 9 holes of golf last night to unwind from work. My only complaint about the golf in this game is the lack of holes -- 27 holes over 3 courses. Nintendo should have either made the 3 courses 18 holes apiece, or provided DLC for additional courses. The golf gameplay experience is excellent, but there is just not enough holes to play.
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22. Video Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:4428]
Video Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Tactics
♬ Stephanie ♩♪♩♪♩ ♩♪♩♪♫♪
United States
In the middle of nowhere
New York
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Honey + Yeast + Time = Nectar of the Gods
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Killed the stupid mind flayer, but he killed my dog.
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23. Video Game: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:428]
Video Game: Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
Rudy
United States
No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
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Spoon?
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SPOOOOON!!!
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"This looks like a nice short and casual game!"

*Installs and starts playing*

"I wonder how long this will really take?"

*Looks up How Long To Beat*

"35 hours!?"

*Sighs and keeps playing.*
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