This is Skeezix’s Brain on Gaming

Wind’s howling

The Witcher 3. If you move in certain circles, you might believe that CD Projekt Red’s action-RPG is the best game ever made. If you don’t, and I don’t, then you might be vaguely suspicious of the game, turned off by rumors of sexism and by the fact that medieval fantasy games seem to attract the worst scrapings off the bottom of the Internet. I know that I was in this boat.

Well, suspicion aside, when I saw that I could get the game for $8 on a Steam sale, I knew that I couldn’t pass it up. If nothing…

This is Skeezix’s Brain on Gaming

A Link to the Musou

Photo by Ricardo Cruz on Unsplash. Stock photos of copyrighted IPs are unsurprisingly rare.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity had some awfully big shoes to fill. Coming (quite belatedly) on the heels of Nintendo’s uber-mega-smash-hit, the game had to both illuminate some of the backstory that didn’t appear in Breath of the Wild and be a decent game in its own right; not an easy task. Did it succeed, though? Well…you’re going to have to read the article to find out.

As a side note, I’m changing up the format of my Still Worth Playing articles. Instead of covering everything about a game, which leads to me spending a lot of time and space…

This is Skeezix’s Brain on Gaming

Winning really CAN feel like an accomplishment!

Photo by Mark Decile on Unsplash. This guy is presumably not having an easy time of it.

I recently picked up Nintendo’s Christmas offering, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. As usual, it featured a difficulty setting on launching the game, which I promptly turned up to Very Hard. It ended up being a great choice.

See, the Hyrule Warriors games (and the Dynasty Warriors games they spun off from) have always felt a little mindless. Much like in Assassin’s Creed, you can skate by on lower difficulties simply by mashing the basic attack button, slicing and dicing your way through crowds of enemies without worrying much about taking damage or even missing. Walking forward and pressing Y would probably be a quick ticket to victory on Very Easy, and might even get you most of the way through the game on Medium.

That’s a shame, because the game’s systems are more complex than they seem…

This is Skeezix’s Brain on Gaming

Bruise cruise

Photo by Taylor Simpson on Unsplash. You get some strong vacation vibes from this one.

I first played Super Mario Sunshine on the Wii, using the original GameCube disk. I enjoyed the sunny graphics, but it was just too hard for ten-year-old me. I couldn’t get past the first boss fight at Pinna Park or the first shine of Ricco Harbor. So, after a few weeks of trying, I gave up and moved on to other things.

Now, though, I’m back with a vengeance.

Last time, when I reviewed Super Mario 64, I covered a game that everyone loves. This time? Well, it’s not so simple. Super Mario Sunshine is probably the most controversial Mario game ever made. While there are no outright bad Mario games, there are a few that almost no one will really defend — the New Super Mario Bros. series comes to mind, as well as, if we’re willing to go there, Hotel Mario on the CD-i (actually, I take back what I said; that one is a bad Mario game, and it’s why Nintendo doesn’t license its characters anymore)…

This is Skeezix’s Brain on Gaming

Don’t get out your pitchforks just yet…

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash. If you think this figurine is low-res, wait until you see Mario ingame.

Everyone knows that Super Mario 64 is the greatest video game of all time. If you ask any game commentator, any blogger, any YouTuber, for their top ten, I guarantee the plumber’s first 3D outing will be on their list. It permeates the Internet, with the famous (if incorrectly quoted) line “So long, gay Bowser” inserted ad nauseam into countless YouTube videos. The game has earned a place at the top of the pile, and it’s common to see it recommended as a first title to someone who’s never picked up a controller in their life.

I’m not sure, though, if anyone can explain exactly why this is.

When I write these articles — all of them bearing nearly identical titles — the question I ask, whether [insert game title here] is still worth playing, is often rhetorical. The fact is, yes, a certain kind of person can enjoy almost any video game. Yes, for that specific kind of person, even something as awful as Rogue Warrior, the infamously horrible first-person shooter based on the heavily-fictionalized exploits of Navy SEAL Dick Marcinko, can be a fun time and well worth the price of admission. …

This is Skeezix’s Brain on Gaming

Blood for the Blood God…again!

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash. If you easily get tired of scenes like this, the game is not for you.

Two armies meet in a yellow wood. One shambles forth, a disorderly crowd of grinning skeletons and rotting zombies, and the other steps proudly ahead, a glittering display of ancient beauty utterly undiminished by the passage of time. Each charging towards the other, they meet with a clash of ringing steel, and soon it becomes apparent that the real question is whether the singing Elven bowstrings will be able to deal enough (re)death to put down the unliving horde before it overwhelms their front line completely.

Once again, Total War: Warhammer asks the age-old question: Who would win…?

Full disclosure: I have already written something that could be considered a review of Total War: Warhammer. That’s available here. But…well, that was never going to be enough. I now have nearly two hundred hours on both games combined. If I had spent that time working out, I would be a monster. If I had spent that time practicing, say, Swedish, jag kunde tala det mycket bra. If I had spent that time writing, I might end up being able to put out a Medium article more than once a month. The waste is incredible, though I have to admit…

This is Skeezix’s Brain on Gaming

A tropical vacation…but is it to Venezuela?

Photo by Rowan Heuvel on Unsplash. Looks like a great place to put a car factory.

Call me a nerd, but I love development economics. It’s a fascinating field! What makes a poor country rich? Why does it happen so rarely, and almost exclusively in the global North? And how can developing countries today pull such a transition off?

Of course, I also love strategy games, as you know, so when Kalypso announced that they were putting out a title (developed by Limbic Entertainment) that combined two of my interests, I was sold! The game seemed to allow for complex management (with each citizen individually simulated), while at the same time including the kind of ridiculous dictator-y stuff that makes any banana republic simulator memorable, like arbitrarily arresting your citizens and stealing the Eiffel Tower.

It’s now been a year and a half since the game released, and since I’ve recently returned to it, I thought I would do…

This is Skeezix’s Brain on Gaming

Has it committed crimes against Skyrim and her people?

Photo by Sean Thomas on Unsplash. Spoiler alert: You’ll be seeing, um, a lot of these.

My rule for reviewing games is usually that I have to complete all of the main content and a good number of sidequests before forming an opinion. Since I’m not covering them as they come out, I’m not under time pressure, so I owe it to my readers to put out a complete, thorough review.

Obviously, there’s no way I could have followed that rule for Skyrim.

I did my best. I finished the main quest and a few of the bigger side questlines. I explored a number of dungeons that weren’t required for anything else, and I generally tried to cast a wide net, sampling different kinds of content from all over the map. I even got a couple of skills to level 100. But it was an exercise in futility; I could have spent a hundred more hours with the game and still not done everything there is to do.

I came late to Skyrim, the same way I came late to Grand Theft Auto…

This is Skeezix’s Brain on Gaming

The answer might surprise you

Photo by Matt Popovich on Unsplash. You’ll be seeing a lot of these if you pick up the game.

I have a confession to make: I had not, until approximately three weeks ago, played Rockstar’s mega-ultra-hit Grand Theft Auto V. I know, I know. Where was I, under a rock? The game took the world by storm seven years ago, scandalizing parents everywhere, and it hasn’t really climbed down from the top since. Last week, the game was sixth by playtime on Steam, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive; pretty impressive for a creation that’s older than this year’s first graders.

But if there’s one thing that can be said about human culture, it is this: What is popular is not necessarily good. In the early 60s, baby boomers unironically enjoyed music that beseeched them to “boogie.” Modern art — art that sells for millions of dollars — often consists of garbage stuck together with duct tape. And there are still, despite everything, girls with crushes on Justin Bieber. So the question remains to be answered: Is Grand Theft Auto V still worth playing?

I got the game for free on the Epic store a few months back. It was my…

Skeezix on History

A few key tips to help you build the world’s newest power

Photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash. It’s good to start with some cool buildings.

How do you build a nation? It’s a deceptively simple question, one which many thousands of philosophers and political theorists have struggled with over the millennia. Unfortunately, they made one crucial mistake: Not asking me. I have all the answers, and so, without further ado, I will reveal to you the secrets of planting your flag in some far-flung corner of the world.

Step one: Find a nation to build

This sounds a lot easier than it is. All of the good nations, such as Norway, already exist, so you will likely have to settle for a second-rate pick. There is very little (but not no, as I’ll outline in a moment) unclaimed land in the world, which means that it will be much easier to carve a chunk out of a country that already exists.

The best place to look is likely going to be Africa. The continent’s borders were drawn in 1952 as a piece of modern art, so they are…


Gamer, weeaboo, writer. I blog about games, anime, and life in general. For updates, check out my Twitter!

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