Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I got my Vive early this month and I wanted to live with it and really get a feel for it before writing anything about it.

I felt like I should get over the initial hump of, "Oh my god this is so amazing." and I think I'm there now.  I still really like it!

It feels like as big of a paradigm shift as moving from 2D to 3D games when the N64 and Playstation generation hit.  It feels monumental.  But it also feels like a first generation product.  I expected this as an early adopter, but it's definitely not ready for mass market.  You need to be computer literate and not get frustrated with hardware to be able to set up and use a Vive.

Honestly, the best experience you can get is probably to go to a friend's house who owns one and try it out.  Then they're dealing with all the setup and you just get the gameplay.

I also can't even imagine how VR feels without the handheld controllers.  I bet the oculus feels more like a gimmick (at least until their touch controllers come out later this year).  Room sized VR experiences are simply amazing.

I've tried out about 30 games at this point and most of them have blown me away.  I'll start writing about them soon!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Atlas Reactor Impressions

I love the premise of Atlas Reactor so when I had a chance to jump into a free weekend trial I took it.

That premise is a turn based MOBA-ish strategy game where actions are all locked in during a 20 second window and then all the locked in actions take place during the next phases.  It's kind of real time, mostly turn based, but overall very interesting.

By the end of the first full game I played of it I realized there's a huge execution problem.  The game, idea, and systems are solid enough but watching the locked-in actions play out take way too long.  Like, they could speed up all the animations by a factor of five or ten it would be just fine.

Or they could do what I thought was the obvious execution and just have all the actions for a given phase happen simultaneously instead of sequentially.

I think if they made either of these changes I would stick with the game and give it more of my time, but based on my frustration with how slow it is I just couldn't go on.  For now, Atlas Reactor isn't for me.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Geek to Geek - S1E13 - VR (HTC Vive)

Virtual Reality (HTC Vive)
In this episode:
  • Void bought an HTC Vive! Don’t know what that is? Great! That’s why we’re doing this episode! We want to introduce you to virtual reality gaming. Since not everyone (Beej included) has had an opportunity to experience VR, live vicariously through Void while Beej incessantly questions him about the technology.
  • Playing the Scully to Void’s Mulder, Beej plays (is) the skeptic and questions everything Void knows about VR.
    • First off: is this a fad?
    • What is the HTC Vive, anyway? Is it all inclusive, or is it a PC peripheral?
    • Honestly, who is this technology for?
    • What is the future of virtual reality? Or at least, where does it seem to be heading?
    • Should naysayers/skeptics buy it now or wait?
  • Void’s Must have games for HTC Vive
  • Games to avoid
    • Windlands
    • inMind
    • inCell
  • Weekly Geekery
  • Health Hack
    • Drink some water! It’s summertime, and you have to pay more attention to your water intake. If your mouth is dry and you feel thirsty, it’s already too late--you’re on the way to dehydration. Even if you think you’re drinking enough, you’re probably not (we all overestimate how much we drink). So drink up, geeks!
Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!
Music by CarboHydroM

Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online

Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online is the overly long title for the first EVE Online history book.  It's really cool!

EVE has consistently been a game that I love to read about but can never actually manage to get into the gameplay of.  I've played a month or two here and there and it just never seems to grab me.  But, it's super fun to read about!

In this book the author covers the major nullspace history and faction wars between the beta of EVE and around 2009.  He hints that there may be more books down the line but this one covers the launch of the game all the way through the first Great War.

It's amazing how much thinking, planning, tactics, and spying go on in this game.  It's especially cool to see how each group adapts to changes and upgrades in the game as time goes on.

If you're one of those people, like me, who love to read about EVE then definitely consider taking a look at Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company is a really interesting game.  I don't think I'm any good at it... but I guess I'm not sure how to tell.

It's an real time strategy game but without any units or armies or battles.  It's all about economy and macro skills.  You're a company on mars, you harvest resources and sell them on the open market (which is shared with all the other players).  You win the game by buying out the other player's companies without having yours bought out.

There's competition but it's mostly indirect, which is really cool.  It's just not a typical RTS so most of my RTS skills don't really map to it.

I had a great time with the tutorials and lower skilled AI games but as soon as I tried playing with real players or "normal" AI I just got destroyed.  I feel like there's a gap between the end of the tutorials and actually understanding the early game strategy for a real skirmish game.

I'm still experimenting with it but if I can't figure out the strategy soon I'll probably set it down unless they patch in more tutorial.  If you're an RTS fan you should definitely take a look at it.  It's a unique take on the genre that at least deserves a little bit of your attention.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War is really good.  It's probably the best thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe has created so far.

It has so many heroes but still manages to fit them all into the story organically, give them their time to shine, and keep the pace of the story moving along.  It's a huge accomplishment and I can't believe they pulled it off successfully.

It's about two and a half hours but it doesn't waste any of it.  Civil War never feels like it drags or slows down too much.  It keeps moving and stays interesting throughout.  From the tense conversations to the direct confrontations it held my attention the entire time.

It feels like they earned this movie through a lot of hard work and set up.  It doesn't feel phoned in or cheap.  It was visceral and difficult to watch this team we know tear itself apart.  This is the benefit of setting up the MCU with so many movies before making the heroes come to blows with each other.

Not only do they manage all this, but they also successfully introduce both Black Panther and Spider-Man in interesting ways.  Now I really want to see solo movies for both of those heroes!

If you've generally kept up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe until now you need to see this entry.  It's amazing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Escape Room!

We did an escape room the other day and it was really fun!

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, you basically get an hour in a room to solve different puzzles and "escape" the room (even though the doors are never truly locked).  It sounded like a cool idea so we finally lined up schedules with enough people and eight of us tackled a Starship scenario.

We entered the room which was basically the bridge of a starship and learned that the scenario was an alien trapped on the ship which we had to locate and defeat before the hour was up.  I don't want to give away any of the puzzles in case any of you end up running this one, but it was super fun.

There were a series of puzzles, some hidden, some obvious and we organically divided up into teams of two or three to start working on all of them.  We succeeded and finish the room with over 10 minutes left!

When we finished the guy running the room told us that only 25% of groups finish and the majority have less than 5 minutes left when they do.  We were super proud!

If you have an escape room somewhere near you I would suggest checking it out (if you can get enough people to line up their schedules).  I'll embed a video of one below.  I wouldn't have done one with a horror theme like the one in the video but it gives you a general idea about what a room is like.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Overwatch Beta

Overwatch launches tomorrow and I haven't even talked about my beta impressions yet!

I really like this game, it's already replaced TF2 as my evergreen FPS.  I don't think I'll ever start up TF2 again because this game fills the same spot in my library but it's better.

Every hero feels unique and worthwhile.  The level designs are all around team objectives which means that the heroes need to gel and come together to complete objectives.  I just love it.

We actually did an entire podcast on the subject if you want to know more!  You can find it on our feed if you're interested.

Mostly, I'm just excited for the game to launch!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Geek to Geek - S1E12 - Audiobooks - “These Are The Kind Of Voices I Do!”


In this episode:
  • We talk about how we got started with audiobooks, and not surprisingly, we both started with free trials to Audible that got us hooked on the format.
  • Multiple places to get them. Our favorite is Audible, but you can also try Overdrive (ask your local library for free access!), iTunes, and good ole CDs and cassette tapes (that’s why they’re called books on tape, after all). We discuss the pros and cons of each.
  • Audiobooks help us make our mundane tasks more fun and interesting while keeping us engaged in books we want. Narrators make a big difference, and we can get through hard-to-read books because their performances make such a difference.
  • Recommendations
  • Weekly Geekery
  • Health Hack
    • Find some staple meals! Instead of raiding your pantry and spending time not knowing what to eat or making a bad decision and ordering pizza, spend a few minutes outside of mealtime finding quick-and-easy things you love eating and can vary. For instance, Beej eats this sweet potato recipe once or twice a week and has for the last 4 years.

Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!


Music by CarboHydroM

Deadpool Review

We finally got around to watching Deadpool!

I had heard a lot of good things and my expectations were really built up because of it.  Overall, Deadpool was better than I thought it would be, but not as great as other people's reviews led me to believe.

It was definitely good enough that I'd see a sequel to it!  It was interesting seeing a Marvel character on screen in an R rated movie.  The blood and violence fit the character perfectly but they didn't push the R super hard just because they could.  It was a good use of the rating!

I'm interested to see what they do next since Deadpool isn't part of the MCU and it seems like it wants to keep it's distance from the core X-Men franchise too.  We'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gone Home Review

Gone Home was a game I finally got around to playing last month when the Aggronaut crew choose it as their game of the month for the podcast.

I was told I would like it since I loved Firewatch so much and it's also a walking simulator with a story to tell.

What people neglected to tell me is that Gone Home has a creepy setting, and I hate horror.

The story it was telling through the environment was interesting and actually not scary at all but the atmosphere set me on edge for the entire two hours.  So at the end I walked away from the game with a pit in my stomach and feeling sick.

This type of setting is just not for me at all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hearthstone Whispers of the Old Gods Review

The Whispers of the Old Gods expansion is out for Hearthstone!  The new cards are fun, but the thing I'm most excited about is actually not the cards.

Right around the time they launched this expansion they put out a new "Standard" and "Wild" format for Hearthstone.  Wild is what we had before, where all cards ever released are available but standard format only allows cards from the past few expansions plus the core cards from the very base game of Hearthstone.  This means the designers can finally redesign the game for balance regularly while keeping a few cards from dominating every deck.

Long term the move to a standard format is a great move for Hearthstone.

They also put pre-constructed decks in the game for each class.  You have to own the cards to create the deck, but if you do it only takes one click in the deck creation screen to have one of their pre-made theme decks.

Personally, this had gotten me to play the game a ton more.  I love piloting a well made deck but deckbuilding has never been a fun activity for me.  Now it's like the Hearthstone designers are my personal deck builders and I love it!

Overall, I think Whispers of the Old Gods is a fantastic and much needed refresh for Hearthstone.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New Podcast! Video Game News Now!

So I've officially been bitten by the podcasting bug.  I just launched a second podcast and with this one I'm trying something different!

I don't know of many podcast that do short form.  Most of the podcasts I listen to range from 30 minutes to 2+ hours.

With Video Game News Now I'm aiming for a podcast most weekdays and generally under 5 minutes for each episode.  Following gaming news is a hobby of mine and I realize that a lot of people out there are interested in what's going on but don't want to devote the time to scanning the headlines and reading all the news sites like I do.

So, that's what this podcast is for!  I'll summarize the news of the day for you and put it in a quickly digestible listening format!

Come try it out and tell me what you think.  I suggest downloading at least the first two episodes (less than 10 min all put together) since episode 0 is just an explanation.

Find it on:

Card Hunter Update, Acquisitions Inc!

Acquisitions Incorporated is my absolute favorite live D&D game to watch.  They just partnered up with the Card Hunter team to release a Card Hunter expansion starring their characters.

I jumped back into Card Hunter just to play it, and while I loved the story and pre-made decks of the Acquisitions Inc campaign I was very quickly reminded why I stopped playing this game.

Namely, it's often just too hard to make progress and it's unclear what to do differently to get better.  If there was some progress being made or some skill being learned that I could get better at and see improvement then Card Hunter would be a game with a lot of legs.

But, for me, it's just not.  I love the core gameplay but hate the progression system and the lack of player messaging when it comes to progressing.

Card Hunter got me back for a couple days to play the Acquisitions Inc content, but now I've bounced off it again.

At this point I'm just going to keep an eye on this development team and see what they come up with next!

Monday, May 16, 2016

War Tortoise Impressions

This is my latest little time waster of an iOS game.  I love finding good full games to sink my teeth into on iOS but sometimes I stumble on a simple time waster that clicks and I play it for a couple days.

As of me writing this, I've been playing for about 2 days.  I'm probably going to get another day or two of enjoyment out of it and actually be done with it by the time this post actually gets published.

And I'm ok with that.  For now, it's just fun being a mouse on a giant tortoise shooting a machine gun at incoming bugs.  You can upgrade things, add units, go to a new generation of tortoise for permanent bonuses and other stuff too.

But the main part of the game is being a mouse shooting a machine gun off the top of a giant tortoise.  If that interests you, take a look.  If it doesn't... I really don't know what else to tell you.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Geek to Geek: S1E11 - Captain America: Civil War - “You can’t just buff that out… right?”

Captain America: Civil War

In this episode:
  • SPOILERS AHEAD! But that helps you enjoy things more. For real! We are talking pretty in-depth about Captain America: Civil War, so if you haven’t seen it or don’t want to know the outcome of #TeamCap vs #TeamIronMan...well, you’ve been warned.
  • Civil War didn’t feel like a Captain America movie. But it also didn’t feel like an Avengers movie.
  • The cast was huge, and unlike some recent ensemble movies, this one pulled it off very well. In Civil War, we get fight scenes and backstory without the movie feeling bloated. The introductions of Spider-man and Black Panther are more than cameos. Plus, they’re not origin stories, and they get real fight scenes that matter!
  • The movie fits in the MCU, and previous viewing is pretty much required. And that’s a good thing. It creates investment in the viewer, and your emotional response is earned. It can still be enjoyed as a standalone, but it is extra meaningful if you’ve been around since the beginning.
  • To us, this all seems like a pretty good indication of the the tone and direction the Russo brothers will take with Infinity War.
  • Weekly Geekery
  • Health Hack: Change your clothes! Dressing the part for what you’re doing is a good way to motivate yourself to get a move on. Whether it’s basketball, running, cycling, or walking (or whatever else), having an outfit that you wear for that activity can energize you and get you out there. After all, if you’ve already changed clothes, you’re less likely to say “meh, nevermind” as you walk toward the door.

Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!


Music by CarboHydroM

Star Fox Guard

Star Fox Guard is the real winner of the two Star Fox games that released as a package.

It's finally a game that actually makes good use of the gamepad in it's core gameplay.  Unlike Star Fox Zero, Star Fox Guard has incorporated the gamepad in a fantastic way and this game couldn't actually exist without having the gamepad.

It's kind of sad that it's taken Nintendo this long to make a game that justifies the Wii U gamepad, for every other game it either feels extremely forced or it just adds some nice-to-haves.  In Star Fox Guard it's critical to the gameplay.

You use the gamepad to position and select cameras in a tower defense style game.  The TV screen shows you the individual views from all those cameras once the waves of enemies start and that's also where you aim and fire to defend.

If my thoughts about Star Fox Zero turned you off of that game yesterday I would highly suggest you grab Star Fox Guard standalone for $15 from the eShop.  My kids and I are having an absolute blast with it!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Star Fox Zero Review

I've been a Star Fox fan ever since I got my hands of the very first game.  I've been following Star Fox Zero while it's been in development and I was super excited to get my hands on it!

My initial impression of the game was one of disappointment.  You see... they've taken traditional Star Fox controls and then added on non-optional motion controls with the Wii U gamepad.  I hate the control scheme.  I thought it was maybe ok until I hit the end of the first level and went into All-Range Mode and they just made the whole experience frustrating.

I powered through and beat the game... because I love Star Fox anyway and even by the time I finished I still hadn't adjusted to the controls.  And I'm a video game player of over 25 years at this point.  I really don't know why they did this to the controls.

I was ready to completely write off the game for myself but then flipping through the map I noticed co-op mode.

Co-op mode gives one player a pro controller (closest to a "normal" controller that Nintendo makes) and let's that player have traditional Star Fox controls!  Then it gives you a dedicated gunner as the second player who gets the gamepad.

This is how you implement motion controls.  Co-op is a ton of fun with a second player!  I still wish that I could play single player with default controls but it doesn't look like that's ever going to be an option.  I'll just content myself with co-op and the awesomeness that is the pack in game, Star Fox Guard.  But more about that one tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

East of West

East of West is the last item on my Comics to Check Out list.  It came highly recommended from multiple people.

I honestly can see why.  It has a fascinating story with and interesting and deep mythos behind it.  There are secrets to uncover but it explains enough to keep drawing the reader along.

And it didn't click with me.

This is one of those situations where I can objectively see the good in this but I personally don't really like it.

I think it mostly comes down to the setting.  The setting is a cross of multiple genres, but most of them I don't like, especially Westerns.  And it seems like Western is the main genre for the whole series despite the fact that it's mixed with Sci-Fi, Kung-Fu, Civil War, and modern day.

So... yeah.  You should probably check this one out if anything I've said has peaked your interest, but I'll be stepping away from it after only reading the first volume.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Secret Wars

Secret Wars turned out to be really fun to read.  After checking out some of the side stories that tie into it, like Spider-Verse and Old Man Logan, I thought I would check out the main Secret Wars series.

Apparently, over the last few weeks of Marvel binge I've absorbed enough information about the general state of the Marvel universe to actually appreciate this giant crossover.

Secret Wars sees the end of all the worlds across all Marvel properties as they slowly crash into each other and are destroyed.  This results in Doom becoming a god and jamming a bunch of sections of different universes together into Battleworld... the last planet in existence.

It's a fun setting where they can remix characters and they're not afraid to kill heroes off.

I've had a lot of fun tearing through a ton of Marvel comics on Marvel Unlimited lately but I think I'm finally to the point where if I wanted to check up any further I would have to buy comics individually because they're not on Unlimited yet.  So after Secret Wars I'll probably wait another few months before I check in on the Marvel world again.  Letting a little backlog build up seems like a good idea.

I only have a few more comic recommendations (the rest are non-Marvel) and then I'll be back to a more regularly comic schedule of only checking in on stuff occasionally.

Thanks so much for all the comics recommendations everyone who sent them my way after listening to the podcast!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Agents of Shield Season 2

I finally got through Season 2 of Agents of Shield.  It was tough.

I really liked the momentum at the end of Season 1 but it felt almost entirely gone at the beginning of Season 2.  After struggling through almost ten episodes I decided to ask a friend if it was safe to just skip ahead.

It was the best decision!

After a few episodes it was obvious which direction they were taking the main storylines... they just needed to hurry up and get there!

Episode 19 is where things really start picking up.  The main team is finally back together to run an interesting operation and then the episode ties into Age of Ultron also.

At this point I'm starting to realize that Agents of Shield is best when it's tying into the greater MCU and at it's worst when it's biding time.  I really hope that Season 3 finally has better pacing when I give it a shot.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Geek to Geek S1E10 - Overwatch - “Giant Gorilla With a Lightning Cannon”

Overwatch is in Open Beta! And it’s awesome!

In this episode:
  • We pre-purchased Overwatch to get early access to the beta, and we’ve played it for hours. Guess what? We love it! And part of that is because the world of Overwatch feels so organic and rich. Even in beta, this game feels polished and unique--it will definitely be one of our evergreen games for years to come.
  • Each character feels totally unique and plays like a different kind of game. If you get bored with one playstyle, you can just swap to a different one, and the whole game plays differently.
  • What’s most interesting to us is how Overwatch all but forces team play. In a culture where every person wants to be the main hero, Overwatch is designed in such a way that teamwork is natural and organic.
  • Weekly Geekery
    • Void - Hamilton - Void has listened to the Hamilton soundtrack 5 times in under 24 hours.
    • Beej - Heroes of the Storm. You guys peer pressured Beej into playing HotS, and it worked! He’s a MOBA fan now!
  • Health Hack: Bored with your normal routine? Don’t change your exercise, change what you listen to! Switch from music to a podcast or from an audiobook to heavy metal. Just a chance in tunage can do wonders for your workout variety!

Be sure to subscribe to the Geek to Geek Podcast your favorite podcast app, drop a review so we know how we’re doing, and feel free contact us via email at geektogeekcast@gmail.com or @geektogeekcast on Twitter with any comments, questions, or suggestions for the show. Thanks for listening, and we can’t wait to hear from you!


Music by CarboHydroM

More Marvel Unlimited!

Continuing with my Marvel Unlimited browsing and reading:

This is a spin-off of Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Verse.  Silk is a female version of Spider-Man who was bitten by the same spider.  Her story is really interesting and doesn't overstay it's welcome.  It also ties into Secret Wars... which many of the modern comics do.

Infinity Gauntlet
This was a Secret Wars comic about the infinity stones and Nova Corps.  I'm not super familiar with either but I gave it a shot because it looked interesting.  Unfortunately I bounced off of it after less than two issues.  I think it required more background knowledge than I have to actually get into.

Amazing Spider-Man
I had basically already read the middle 50% of this run of Spider-Man because I read Spider-Verse.  I liked it a lot so I thought I would finish the run by reading the other 25% on each side of what I had already read.  It's very good and I would have read more if it wasn't interrupted by Secret Wars.  I'll have to keep an eye out for more by this writer in the future.

Ms. Marvel
The latest run of Ms. Marvel is weird and kooky and fantastic!  Kamala Khan inherits the mantle of Ms. Marvel.  It gives and interesting perspective since she's a kid who absolutely loves super heroes.  She follows all the superhero gossip, backstories, video games, and writes fan fiction about them.  Then she gets to become one of them.  It's an amazing take on a new super hero!

Strange (2006)
A friend recommended checking out this short run to get the basic backstory of Dr. Strange.  I was interested in it after seeing the recent trailer for the upcoming Dr. Strange movie starring bennybatch.  It's a good run and I feel like I now know the basics of Dr. Strange.  I would recommend this one if you're in the same situation and want to get into the core of the character.