Backlog: Yay Area Edition

Greetings from sunny San Francisco! I've been enjoying the cool breeze and beautiful weather for the last week, but strangely enough, I'm looking forward to heading back to Austin today. Sure, it's offensively hot and chokingly humid there these days, but at least it's home. And being home means I'll finally be able to dig into two games I've been awaiting impatiently for months: Saints Row IV and Divekick.

We've got a pretty light batch of content for you this week, but fortunately Doug had some stuff to share. Consider it the calm before the storm — PAX is just around the corner, after all.  – Nick Cummings

Doug

The quintessential 1990s sleepover party aftermath as depicted in Gone Home

The quintessential 1990s sleepover party aftermath as depicted in Gone Home

So I played Gone Home this past week. Even though I needed to do plenty of other things that day -- go out and run errands, work on writing for the web site, you know, real life things -- I sat down and dug into the game.

It’s one of those conversation games that’s so impossible to have a conversation about right now. BioShock Infinite earlier this year was much the same way, and plenty of other story-driven games have fallen under that umbrella as well, but with Gone Home, it’s especially difficult. The game is spartan -- almost 8-bit in its level of interaction -- and reliant completely on its story. Thankfully, it’s a textbook example of the kind of storytelling that can only happen in games; it’s interactive, in a way that movies and books cannot be.

It’s brilliant. Go play it. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it again come December.

Otherwise, I’m still digging in to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, or as it’s known over here, とびだせどうぶつの森. Yep, that’s right, I have a Japanese 3DS. Tyler thinks I’m crazy -- not just because it’s a foreign-language model (and since the 3DS is region-locked, that means ONLY Japanese games) but because so far I have ACNL and a couple Virtual Console games, and nothing else. Let me defend this point for a second: I’ve had the 3DS less than a month. Animal Crossing is a meaty game; it’s fitting in as gaming in between my main PS3 play sessions. I’ll pick up other titles, but I don’t need anything else at the moment. What good are a dozen other games if they’re sitting unused?

In any case, Animal Crossing is also brilliant in its own way. The formula that I enjoyed back on the DS and has been great since the first title has been further refined, the new position as the mayor of your town provides more reasons to explore and collect cash, and the Internet accessibility adds numerous layers onto the game. It’s a fantastic package, and yes, it’s worth picking up a 3DS for alone. I want to write more about the game soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that.