9 March - 15 March 2020: 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 2020
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1. Video Game: Learn Japanese To Survive! Hiragana Battle [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Video Game: Learn Japanese To Survive! Hiragana Battle
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Getting back into this to finish it up after another few months away from it. Not much left.
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2. Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds [Average Rating:8.57 Overall Rank:98] [Average Rating:8.57 Unranked]
Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Железный комиссар
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Indiana
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Deep into this one and thoroughly enjoying it.

I wasn't 100% sold on this at first. It's a slow starter, which is a.) not what I want to see in general, b.) not what I expect from Zelda, c.) the polar opposite of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. But once it opens up a bit after an hour or so, it swings in the other direction, experimenting with how open-ended a Zelda game can be without undermining a sense of progress.

Also, I'm sure there will be significant subjectivity from players hearing the music in this game, as a lot of it is re-instrumentations from A Link to the Past. For some tracks, I found myself immediately wishing for the original. For others, I thought, "this is fine," and for still others they seem like fun parallels (I think my favorite is the new version of the Dark World theme).

Anyway, I've completed five dungeons, including my first two in Lorule, which were The Swamp Palace and the Thieve's Hideout (which was the highlight so far). The dungeons all have a conceptual connection with A Link to the Past, but each is fresh and fully developed. I wonder if Nintendo was toying with the idea of actually remaking LttP, and decided that was just never going to click with the fanbase.

Jury's still out, but A Link Between Worlds is probably the easiest Zelda game - and possibly the easiest by a wide margin (in terms of deaths/damage/hearts, not puzzle difficulty). For example, all of the light world in this game is easier than the very first dungeon in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (which, it probably goes without saying, wasn't hard). The battle here that parallels LttP's midgame confrontation with Agahnim is so easy that I steamrolled through it without getting hit, possibly without missing a 'damage cycle' (opportunity to hit the boss)... and I'd never played or seen it before.

On a related note, rather than go through the typical expanding-wallet-size rigamarole, you can hold 9999 rupees here, and the game throws money at you like crazy. In turn, money ties into a "golden skulltula" style sidequest (find 100 hidden things in the overworld). Every 10 collected lets you purchase an upgraded version of one of your key items, and these are ridiculously powerful. I have the upgraded Tornado Rod and Fire Rod, and both just dominate everything. About to get the Sand Rod and Ice Rod, and then maybe the Bow? Turning into an embarrassment of riches.

I've never played a Zelda game with a powergaming streak as crazy as this one. I like it, but I'm pretty sure I'm headed toward a zero-death playthrough, possibly without any close calls.
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3. Video Game: Gears of War 2 [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:235]
Video Game: Gears of War 2
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I got another act of Gears of War 2 done. The end of act 2 is definitely memorable!

I finished Shadowrun Hong Kong and was planning on continuing Divinity Original Sin 2 as my new lunchtime game...but some voice in the back of my head said "hey, you should start Tyranny". So, I started Tyranny. I made a character -- sword & shield with a sub-focus in lightning magic -- and did the choose-your-own-adventure intro thing that sets up the world state and the different factions' impression of you. It's a real-time-with-pause game, a mechanic of which I've typically been not a big fan, but there are lots of options for conditions which auto-pause the game. For now, I have no party members, and it looks like the party size is 4, compared to Pillars of Eternity's 6, which I found way too hard to follow.

Speaking of, I took a look at Pillars of Eternity and see that I apparently put 11 hours into the game (according to Steam). I would have guessed closer to 3 or 4! I want to revisit that game in the future, but as you can see, I still have Tyranny, DOS2, and Dragon Age Inquisition to tide me over first.
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4. Video Game: Mario Kart Tour [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:6604]
Video Game: Mario Kart Tour
Jeff G
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Santa Rosa
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5. Video Game: Wolfenstein: The New Order [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:640] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Video Game: Wolfenstein: The New Order
Gabe Hawkins
United States
Virginia
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Starting this one tonight. I played 2009's Wolfenstein around the time it launched, so it will be nice to revisit that universe. I haven't played many shooters lately, so this is scratching that particular itch. I've heard these past few games have been solid overall.
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6. Video Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim [Average Rating:8.52 Overall Rank:13]
Video Game: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Special Edition on PS4 with mods. It's good.

Got my warhammer Nord to a decent place, finishing the Companions questline. Done quite a bit around Whiterun and Falkreath. Thinking to go Stormcloaks. Need to do some Dragonborn stuff too.

Then decided to restart with a non-dragonborn mage Imperial, who walked to Solitude and is doing stuff around there. Just joined the Bards College and planning to do some of their quests, then Dawnstar and Winterhold, and then Dawnguard maybe.
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7. Video Game: Need for Speed Heat [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Need for Speed Heat
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Video Game: Need for Speed Heat


Video Game: Need for Speed Heat


Video Game: Need for Speed Heat


A couple of my vehicles.

There's quite a bit of rubberbanding in this. Sometimes one car, even underleveled will get way ahead, and no matter what, even with a more powerful car, you cannot catch it, except maybe at the very end.

The racing feels good, but I wish the AI had more.
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8. Video Game: NioH [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:2958]
Video Game: NioH
Josh Malbon
United States
Santa Cruz
California
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Farther into the burning fishing village.

Starting to feel pretty good with the katana. The three stances make a big difference. Barely do I use High, but when you want a lot of damage and range, it works great. Low stance cuts quick and down, helping against the crawlers and creepers.

Took down a couple more Yokai. One I got on the first try, felt so good, went for another. Nearly had him, until cut-greed did me in.

Amazing coming across samurai that used to threaten my well-being, and being able to finesse through them. I like that this game hits that satisfaction, when you conquer what at first seemed impossible.
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9. Video Game: MOLEK-SYNTEZ [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
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Andrew Schoonmaker
United States
Long Beach
California
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Picked up MOLEK-SYNTEZ in the Zachtronics sale over the weekend and played through about half of the normal puzzles. It's less bare-bones than TIS-100, and as the name suggests it's chemical synthesis rather than assembly language, but the story is thin (just text in between some puzzles) and the display is entirely in black and white. There is, as has become customary, a solitaire game, which is a strange Spider-like game played with a 36-card pack.

So far the puzzles themselves are pretty straightforward, at least to solve; I haven't put too much effort into optimizing.
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10. Video Game: Night Call [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Night Call
Joerg Schaefer
Germany
Frankfurt
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In Night Call, you play a taxi driver in Paris who is coerced into supporting the police investigation on a serial killer. You are chosen because you are the only victim who has survived an attack so far.

The gameplay is simple. On a map of Paris, you choose one of the available passengers to pick up. The ensuing dialogues are the essence of the game. Some of them will give you clues for the investigation and you also can visit a few locations to hunt for clues. You need to take care to earn enough money to cover your expenses but on normal difficulty this isn't difficult.

The game is fun if you like visual novels and collecting stuff in games as the achievements reward you for picking up all possible passengers and following every dialogue option. While the initial talk with a new passenger is always interesting, the game gets repetitive when you transport the same passenger the second or third time. Only few of them have completely different dialogues.

There are three different cases. I already completed the first one and am close to the solution in the second one. It's clearly not a game for everyone but completing the passenger index as much as possible has an odd fascination on me that I even put up with the repetitiveness after a few hours.

Once I finish Night Call, I plan to start with Hue which is an alternate for my hardcore list.
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11. Video Game: Path of Exile [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:594]
Video Game: Path of Exile
Rudy
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No too far from Philly
Pennsylvania
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The new Delirium league starts Friday. I am thinking about trying a Gladiator (Gratuitous Violence node) bow char using Puncture skill as a starter build and see how it goes. It promises to be light on gear required and still pack a punch. Combine that with Split Arrow for some clearing, which should really help with the new league.
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12. Video Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:240]
Video Game: Dragon Age: Inquisition
Jon Hohmann
United States
San Angelo
Texas
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On my bazillionith playthrough of this (okay maybe 6th) and I can't get enough. I'm doing another Nightmare run but this time I'm using a Reaver warrior, which we'll see because I generally prefer ranged classes. I still think my Artificer archer was the funnest build I've used in this game, even though many consider it very OP.

I'm also going to run through without using the dupe glitch which I only use to make money faster, although you can use it to dupe amulets which give you basically unlimited skill points. Ok that part is cheating

Great game if you haven't played it and are into action RPGs.
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13. Video Game: iRacing [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
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Gabe Hawkins
United States
Virginia
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Jumping back into iRacing again this week as the new season will begin tomorrow. I'm focusing primarily on K&N/ARCA races, so I'll be running for points in that series. This week's race will be held at Phoenix International Raceway (the 2008 version without the paved apron in the dogleg). I ran a K&N race there awhile back and finished 8th, so I'm cautiously optimistic this go around. The latest build updated the tire model though, so you really have to manage the tires a lot more, and you have next to no grip on the opening laps.

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The paint scheme I'll be running this week


There are a few other series I'd like to hop around and run some select races with. The Late Model series, Class C Street Stocks, and maybe some Class C NASCAR Truck races are also on my radar. But we'll see how K&N goes.
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14. Video Game: Super Mario 3D World [Average Rating:8.39 Overall Rank:255]
Video Game: Super Mario 3D World
Pete
United States
Northbrook
Illinois
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These days I mostly play with the kids, and we're currently playing:

Super Mario 3D World (the family is almost done with this 4p coop)
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (the son, at age 6, thinks he's up for this)
Super Mario Bros. 3 (the daughter, age 11, is upset that the boy beat this and she hasn't)
Super Mario Maker (the boy is Mario-obsessed, and makes me levels daily)
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (wow, this game is a workout!)

Pete (is thinking to start them on Zelda soon)
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15. Video Game: Dying Light: The Following [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
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Jim Arpin
United States
Baltic
Connecticut
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Working my way through this in co-op. We played almost 4 hours yesterday. When we started it said story progress 90%. When we ended it said story progress 90%. We just passed 50 hours in the game and DLC and I am about ready to move onto something else. The story/writing are the weakest part of the game. The moment to moment gameplay is really solid but I just can't stand the main character I am playing as, which is significantly hurting my enjoyment every time we push a big chunk of story.

I have been playing a bunch of Dead Cells lately as well after picking up the new DLC and starting a fresh save file. I have been unlocking stuff and should be set to crank it up to 2 Boss Stem Cells in the next day or two after feeling fairly powerful and stringing together some wins on 1 Stem Cell.

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16. Video Game: Steins;Gate Elite [Average Rating:9.50 Unranked]
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Amanda Zimmer
United States
Decatur
GA
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With the realization that Animal Crossing comes out later this month and nothing else will get done in the subsequent months after, figured I should get around to finishing this! Having several hours in the car also helped.

Last time I had gotten Luca's ending, so I continued on to Stardust Sky (Mayuri's ending).
I was correct in predicting earlier in the game that Moeka's D-mail was actually about the location of the IBN 5100, but it was still interesting to see how Okabe came to that realization (instead of just assuming the worst in people hur hur).
But then everything after that I was not ready for. Very much wths to be had, particularly Nae time leaping 2000+ times to kill Moeka.

...okay and also while I had anticipated that the pattern of Okabe's actions (undoing everyone's D-mails would ultimately lead back to the worldline where Kurisu is [mysteriously] killed), I was wondering how that would resolve but in Stardust Sky, the ending doesn't answer any questions; it will all probably come to together in the remaining two endings.

While it would have been nice to have saved a file for the beginning of Chapter 4 (as that is where the first phone reply has any impact on unlocking endings), I didn't mind just starting a new file. Very easy to fastforward through the story. Slowed down to re-read a few things as it was interesting to see the beginning of the game with the understanding of what else is going on with the other characters.

I've made it back over to Chapter 4. To be continued more this week, most likely.
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17. Video Game: Outer Wilds [Average Rating:8.80 Overall Rank:4044]
Video Game: Outer Wilds
Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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Wow! This is a real experience! Nothing else I know of is like this and I love it.

I'm not 100% sure where it's actually going though it seems clear what my final goal SHOULD be. It's so much fun exploring right now though. I've found 2 escape pods and 2 quantum shards, not counting the one on the initial planet in the museum. I've delved into Dark Bramble, I've hid from sandstorms on the Twins, and I've fallen into a black hole. And a bunch more!

It's really captivating. Honestly, it reminds me a bit of Obra Dinn in how you are just kind of let loose to do what you will - I know Obra Dinn is a bit more... I don't want to say linear, but kind of do, but there's a similar sense of freedom to them both because you don't really know anything.

Also I need to finish before friday, when the new Path of Exile league is released. Stupid PoE.

I plan on running the build from last season, plus something new to play with (probably depending on what uniques I find? We'll see)
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18. Video Game: Rocket League [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:280]
Video Game: Rocket League
John Middleton
United States
Washington
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Had the opportunity to put the band back together for some Rocket League last night. Man, I miss playing this as much as I did. We shook the rust off and played pretty well considering it had been over a year.

Of all of us, I was showing the time off the most... I was missing air balls all night, left and right.

But there was some good competition out there! More than just "still active" it seemed like there was more of a range of skill levels in competitive play than the last time we played.

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19. Video Game: God of War (2018) [Average Rating:8.61 Overall Rank:222]
Video Game: God of War (2018)
John Middleton
United States
Washington
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Afterward, I played some more God of War. I've been assured I'm close to the end, but I doubt I'll finish it this weeks since I'm playing it less like conquering war god and more like a father dutifully helping his son fill out his photography portfolio before applying for art school...
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20. Video Game: Tales of Graces [Average Rating:7.97 Overall Rank:1806]
Video Game: Tales of Graces
♬ 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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Microbadge: Tea drinkerMicrobadge: I'm part of the 2020 Mindful Spending ChallengeMicrobadge: Lost in Subscription!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!Microbadge: "I'm a really good liar." —Jester Lavorre
Started getting bored with Shadow of Mordor, so I started this game.

Quote:
I'm 11 years old. I go where I want.
Aw kid, that's adorable.
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21. Video Game: Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith [Average Rating:9.33 Unranked]
Video Game: Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith
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
I'm rotating among a few strategy games, as usual, trying to zero in on what suits me best.

Last night, nothing seemed to work for me. I got stuck in a game of Master of Orion, overwhelmed due to playing on Hard for a change instead of Average. Then I switched to Dom5 and got swamped by big enemy armies there (where I was playing on Difficult instead of Normal). Finally I switched to Age of Wonders III: Eternal Lords and played a team game; and my ally made good progress, taking cities I felt should have been mine, but then I was mercilessly attacked and finally quit out of the game.

I like the feel of Dom5 best, maybe just because it's new to me. But I don't like competing against AI opponents with resource advantages, because then I have to duck around humongous armies or get clobbered.

But truth be told, I don't much like playing games against a strong AI (or human opponent) either, even when the playing field is level. I did that at lunchtime today, playing checkers on my smartphone. I managed to draw once, but otherwise it was lose, lose, lose. I've never been any good at checkers, and I don't like straining my brain that way. I'm more of a gambler, I guess; I like to play by intuition and hope to stumble upon a way to make things come out in my favor. Any game that requires precise, thorough, logical thinking is apt to just frustrate me.

Next I may try playing a game of Dom5 against myself--setting it up as a multiplayer game but playing all the nations and just doing my best with each one. That's how I played board wargames for years, and I always liked it. It ensures that every game is evenly matched, and I always win and lose. So the pressure is off, and I get to experiment with lots of possibilities.
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22. Video Game: Rocket League [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:280]
Video Game: Rocket League
Marius Roth
Germany
Wistedt
Lower Saxony
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The day started with some bad luck.
After getting home from work I wanted to raise my player level, but I mostly got into already running games, where the other teamplayers left shortly after due to being way behind in goals. Lost all my matches but I pulled through and got me another Rocket Pass level and some coloured animated decal.

A pause to binge some episodes of a new show (and let the RLCS stream run muted in the background) ended my streak of bad luck.
Not only was I greeted with 2 free twitch drops (crimson carbon wheels - looking sick - and the Fallen Angel player banner), I also got into a game where my team finally won a match.

Also looking forward to some of the new wheels tat Psionix/Epic showed in their news.

Edit: And the streak continues, as I got a 3rd drop from the Twitch Stream, Decopunk wheels. 3 drops in just a few hours.....I could get used to that.
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23. Video Game: FTL: Advanced Edition [Average Rating:8.40 Overall Rank:1164]
Video Game: FTL: Advanced Edition
Robert McLaughlin
United States
West Jordan
Utah
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Bacon? Where is it? Where's the bacon??
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Crispy bacon! Tasty Bacon!
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Another addictive gem. I keep coming this close to winning, but I've died to the flagship each time I've reached it. SO close.

Doesn't put me off though - only makes me want to go again each time! You know you have a winner of a game that way.
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24. Video Game: Rocket League [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:280]
Video Game: Rocket League
Robert McLaughlin
United States
West Jordan
Utah
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Bacon? Where is it? Where's the bacon??
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Crispy bacon! Tasty Bacon!
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Microbadge: Anime fanMicrobadge: Arcade fanMicrobadge: Bacon loverMicrobadge: You know what they say about guys with big hands... They give big thumbs!Microbadge: I give out citizenship stars
You know, it surprises me just how I can stay in Platinum 1 for triples, Gold 3 for duos when I haves no Air game whatsoever.

I mean, I can zoom up to block a ball, sure. What I mean is that my teammates and opponents are doing the air dribbles left and right and I've got no skill doing that. I'm still here somehow though, so I guess I shouldn't worry too much?
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25. Video Game: Monster Train [Average Rating:8.25 Overall Rank:3209]
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Osirus
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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Microbadge: Pebble of the Community - Always present, only occasionally kicked aroundMicrobadge: Dood!Microbadge: GameChat League - Swedish Meatball DivisionMicrobadge: Fallout fanMicrobadge: 'When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning' - Dr. Reiner Knizia
After finally beating Slay the Spire with a couple fan expansion characters after many failed attempts (Exalted, Chemist), I decided to return to Monster Train to try their Ascension mechanic. I got thwomped. But it is still a cool game, a lovely counterpart to Slay the Spire.
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