By The Numbers: Week 4, 2015


Taking a short look at the season, we’re seeing patterns emerge and some teams deemed worthy of Super Bowl contention in the preseason sitting towards the bottom of the barrel. Seriously, there’s teams like the 49ers and the Saints in the bottom four slots of this week’s power rankings, while the Jaguars and the Raiders (yeah, those Raiders) sitting in the middle of the pack. One thing that hasn’t changed as much is the top of the pack, with the Packers and the Patriots right there at the top. Honestly, the Packers should have been in the Super Bowl last year, and I’m not saying that as a fan. This year is far from over, but we’re seeing some similar patterns along with those shockers I listed above.

This week, my team is hitting the road and going to San Francisco to face the 49ers, who look bombed out and depleted. Kaepernick looks attrocious. But they’ve beaten us quite a few times in a row now, so anything can happen. I still think the Packers take it, as their offense looks weak and their defense isn’t as still in years past. The only other game this week that seems like it might be fun to watch is Oakland vs. Chicago. I’m curious to see just how bad the Bears are this year, and I want to know if Derek Carr is the real deal. Can he resurrect a terrible team? Can he get them to 3-1? Or is he another flop? Otherwise it’s bad matchups where 0-3 teams are playing 1-2 teams and shit like that gets boring quick. Bye weeks make for some bad weeks, watching wise. Even this past game where the Packers decimated the Chiefs was hard to watch til it was at least almost a competition in the 4th quarter. Anyway, here’s my picks for the week:

Packers 31, 49ers 17
Steelers 28, Ravens 7
Jets 21, Dolphins 10
Falcons 27, Texans 13
Bills 24, Giants 20
Raiders 27, Bears 7
Bengals 34, Chiefs 21
Colts 21, Jags 20
Panthers 27, Buccs 3
Eagles 24, Skins 7
Chargers 27, Browns 17
Cards 20, Rams 10
Broncos 24, Vikings 21
Cowboys 14, Saints 13
Seachickens 38, Lions 21

State of the Game: Graphics Aren’t Everything


It’s funny how daily posting can affect other aspects of your blogging habits. This State of the Game column has been a roundup of the games I’ve been playing, and sometimes has other tidbits like things I’m watching, or other small chunks of information that wouldn’t fill out a whole post. When I write like I’ve been writing, where I take a day or two off here and there, there is still a point to having a round up post, because then I just collect the thoughts I’ve had throughout the week that didn’t make it into another post. When I was writing daily through August and the beginning of this month, the round up post became obsolete because I made every thought into a full blown post, rather than saving them up for a State of the Game. It’s an interesting dynamic.

So I finally wrote a new round up post last week, and it turns out that this week I have enough to write about again. I don’t know if I’ll be back to doing one of these a week or not, I still reserve the right to write them when it feels appropriate.

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The first major bit of news is that I had been playing Shining Force after many years and I finally completed it yesterday. I had been thinking about playing it ever since we started talking about Evergreen games back in August, and started it up a couple of weeks ago. It didn’t take long to complete, and felt easier than I remember, but it still holds up. To me, graphics aren’t everything. A game that has fantastic mechanics and a workable storyline get me going a lot more than graphics do. That’s not to say I’m not susceptible to the charms of amazing graphics, but rather that I can still go back and enjoy older games. It bemuses me that some people only want the newest technology and games and will write off everything that came before it. A recent conversation with a friend confirmed this about him, where he was already talking trash on the PS3, saying any games he didn’t play must have been garbage and that he only cares about what’s on PS4. Similarly, he writes off my new computer and thinks I should “stop being cheap, and buy a PS4.” I do want a PS4, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time there’s only 1 game I care about on that system that I can’t get anywhere else. Until there’s a handful, I don’t really see it as being a wise purchase. Not to mention, a $1500 computer is 3x the amount of a new PS4, so who’s the cheap one? But I digress.

I also picked up a copy of the original Final Fantasy Tactics for my PS3 as a “PSOne Classic.” I’m not sure if I’m going to move on to Shining Force 2 first, or if I’m going to make the jump to FFT, but either way I have been on a retro gaming kick and it’s made me appreciate my nostalgia for these particular titles but also given me an appreciation for some of the advancements made to RPG systems. There are some conveniences that are definitely missing from Genesis-era RPGs, even just between Shining Force 1 & 2, which is part of the reason I want to play the sequel now so that things are fresh in my mind. I think I’ll be writing a post about the two and comparing them by when I’m finished with the series again. Either way Tactics is itching to get played.

Some of the indie games I’ve mentioned either here on the blog or on my podcast recently have been in a steady rotation this week. I wrote about Super Mutant Alien Assault already, and posted a video but I didn’t talk about the other two games I picked up at the same time: Space Beast Terror Fright and Secrets of Grindea.

SBTF is a Roguelike FPS where claustrophobia, warping visuals and difficulty collide to make for very short gaming sessions. I would go into more detail, but just watch some of my gameplay and you’ll get the gist of it:

Intense no?


Secrets of Grindea is more light hearted. It’s a 16-bit era JRPG with action combat rather than active time battles. Think Secret of Mana meets a smart assed teenager. You were probably a smart assed teenager the last time you played Secret of Mana, so this will probably be easy for you. Really though, it’s been fun. The animations are top notch, the storyline is wacky and silly but that’s good because it’s poking fun at all of the old school RPG tropes I mean the game is called Secrets of Grindea, because they have embraced and make fun of their influences quite readily.


The best part is that game is playable in co-op with up to 4 players, so it’s already one upped SNES era games. There is also an arcade mode that plays more like a rogue-like and will probably keep the game replayable for many moons to come. It’s still in early access, so they have already stated that there is more to come out of the story mode before it is complete and they will be fixing and tweaking things for a while, but it’s already a well made game at this point, so I’d say it’s worth your coin. If anyone has the game (or picks it up subsequently) let me know and we can get a game going!

There’s another game I purchased as well, but I haven’t managed to play it yet, mainly because it was a pre-order. However, I did get 10% off with the pre-order and apparently will get access to the beta before the game launches late next month. The game in question is called Warhammer End Times: Vermintide. It’s a Warhammer FPS with a focus on melee combat and has a feel akin to Left 4 Dead. There are 5 classes, each with their own unique weapons and skill sets, along with Skaven as the featured enemy race. Levels appear to be fairly linear but with loot drops, unique Skaven types (like L4D’s witch, etc), bosses, and events. The loot system has rarity, and there will be differing difficulty levels, so I see a Diablo-esque grind fest waiting to happen. It’s 4 player co-op as well, and there is talk of additional classes, monsters and levels to be added after release — some free, some paid DLC. Sounds about right, and for $26 I can’t complain. Here’s a video from Totalbiscuit that shows some of the beta footage, if my commentary hasn’t already sold you:

Last but not least, I re-upped my Playstation Plus after not having it for a couple of months. Honestly I didn’t miss out on much, and this month wasn’t too great either. The Twisted Metal remake was the big freebie on PS3, and though I hadn’t played the game before, I had seen it in action and it still looked pretty decent. After playing it however, I’m not too impressed. I’ll give it another whirl before writing it off completely, but I’m hoping better stuff comes down the pipeline in coming months. Really I just wanted to re-up so that I could access some of the games I’ve collected from the service that I haven’t beaten or played at all. There’s some good titles in there that came out months or years ago that I need to play while I have an active plus sub. Not only that but I like knowing that I’m building a PS4 library for when I do finally pick up the system. So yeah, that’s it for this week’s round up. What are you playing?

No Nuclear Throne run today, as it’s a bit too early for the daily run to reset (5 pm) and I’m going to be out for the evening. I did find out that another roguelike that I own and enjoy also has a daily run feature, so I will leave you with that:

Done with Cobalt Scar

My hopes that the between-expansion zone The Cobalt Scar would give me enough XP to hit 95 did not come true. No, when I entered the zone I had 309 AA and was sitting around 25% into level 93. Finishing the entirety of the zone (minus the heroic dungeon and the advanced duos) I still need a couple of percent to hit level 94. The AA has been flowing though, and I have 321 at this point. So I’m officially done with mostly all of the content from the beginning of the game to where I should be entering the Veespyr Isles, which is the first overland zone of the Tears of Veeshan expansion. However, upon entering the zone via wizard spire, I was unable to see any quest icons, and according to things I’ve read, it appears I will need to be level 95 to get going. That, or I’ve finally hit the F2P wall and can’t access these quests, but I would think that I should be able to access this expansion, just not Altar of Malice (the EQ2 FAQ hasn’t been updated since ToV was the new expansion, so the language isn’t clear). Things are confusing at this point because I’m advancing quickly and this is the most content I’ve ever experienced for free, though ToV was the last expansion I had purchased so I would think I’d be able to access it anyway. With the news of a new expansion coming soon, it’s already been confirmed that a purchase of the pack comes with everything (including the Rum Cellar DLC) that’s already released. There was a sale on both AoM and RC but if they’re both going to be accessible for free soon, why buy them? Either my understanding of the F2P restrictions are off base, or it’s silly to buy that content right now. The day after that sale ends, Pre-orders for the new expansion go up and you get access to the older content immediately, so yeah, I’m waiting for that.

Either way, part of me wants to resubscribe just so that I can control my AA slider. Having 50% of all my XP going to AA has been nice for the AA gain, but it’s slowing down leveling a bit, enough that I think I’d be 95 already otherwise. I don’t mind looking for HQs and other things to do, but at the same time, I’d rather just be at the appropriate level already so I can start down the next quest chain. I loved the Kingdom of Sky expansion, and Tears of Veeshan is modeled similarly with sky isles, so I want to push forward. Ultimately I’d like to be ready for Altar of Malice content by the time the new expansion arrives, so I can just buy the new one, resubscribe and burn through AoM and RC so I can be current again. However, getting that stuff for free and not having to worry about the sub time would be nice too. What will probably end up happening is I’ll get a level, burn through ToV and hit the F2P wall and then sub+ pre-order the new expansion.

The Cobalt Scar was a fun zone. I enjoyed it much more than the Withered Lands zone, which is comparable in size and scope, and was also patched in between expansions a couple of years ago. It was pretty, had a more Butcherblock Mountains feel and I just enjoyed it much more. The quest lines were similar to most zones, yet there was enough variety that I didn’t feel burnt out. This is still technically part of Velious, so the denizens are the Othmir and Ulthorks, along with the New Combine (who sends you here from the Great Divide dock, just like they did with the Withered Lands). There were some awesome sights, plenty of named, some shapeshifting, and a solo zone at the end infested with Sirens. After completing the main questline, a signature quest opened up and continued the story of the Duality and Firiona Vie along with the Overlord and Queen Antonia. There was a particular portion that was pretty awesome, when you go through a portal to another realm and watch a battle between dragons. Overall I enjoyed the entire zone, and it was easy to get into that rhythm of getting shit done.

So at this point, I’ll be stuck making up some XP so that I can break into ToV. From there, I think my path is pretty clear, or clearer than it was when I first started writing this post. I’ve dropped any of the other MMOs I had been sampling in favor of the classic old guard game that’s been with me for years, and I hope to see the end game again after this new expansion releases. Even if I don’t raid, I can at least say I’m at the end and can take a break without being behind this time. Who knows if that will actually happen, but it sounds good in theory.

Here’s some miscellaneous shots of my adventures in the Cobalt Scar:

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A little better than yesterday and the day before, but still not acceptable.

I randomed Steroids, and I actually rather like having two weapons out at once, but I got shit mutations and not many health drops. Such is life.

Couch Podtatoes Episode 63: All About The Narrative


Early release this week because we got things recorded on time and I had little going on today so the editing was a breeze.

I finally managed to get Doone on the show after a little over a month, and though we had been trying for the past couple of weeks, his succubi children have drained him of all life. We have however found the solution! From now on we’ll be playing some games together beforehand so that he’ll stay awake to record. Seemed to work well this time anyhow.

So with Doone on the show that means it’s time for Doone’s Digital Frontier again, and of course that means having a more philosophical discussion about games, and this time we’re tackling the Narrative. Not only the narrative of individual games and the stereotypical definition of narrative itself, but also the narrative of our steam libraries and what stories these lists tell about our personalities. Still with me? It will all make sense once you listen. Enjoy!


Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 63: All About The Narrative (runtime: 1:00:13)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:01)
Discussion: Narrative (starts at 20:15)

Host Contact information:

Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Blog: Healing the Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @doone_buggy

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“The All Night Lights” by 36 Crazyfists (from the album The Tide and Its Takers)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming

Wow. So the curse continues. That forward progress for my daily average has taken several steps back.

Random Y.V. Self inflicted death via grenade. Sad.

By The Numbers: Week 3, 2015


Another 7/15 week as so many games were played that went the other way, just look at this informative graphic:


Seriously, it’s not happening. But hey, what do I know, I picked against every single on of those teams and they proved me wrong. So I’m not really giving a shit about my accuracy, but you can bet I’ll report if I start getting a better percentage right. Here’s my picks for the 3rd week of the season:

Skins 21, Giants 20
Bengals 27, Ravens 14
Panthers 31, Saints 20
Raiders 24, Browns 10
Falcons 27, Cowboys 13
Buccs 21, Texans 17
Chargers 31, Vikings 14
Patriots 42, Jags 13
Eagles 27, Jets 10
Steelers 28, Rams 13
Colts 17, Titans 12
Cardinals 24, 49ers 13
Bills 27, Dolphins 7
Seachickens 24, Bears 3
Broncos 27, Lions 14
Packers 34, Chiefs 17

Yeah, I don’t have much else to add today. Here’s the week’s Packers infographic.


Random select gave me Rogue again, and it seems like my progress has turned backwards the past couple days. Early end this time too.