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Gabe / 4 hours ago

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes

I got an early copy of the new Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes last week. It actually hits stores tomorrow so I thought I’d share my impressions of the game so far. I’m playing the PS4 version although I’m not sure how much that matters.

The reviews for this new 2.0 version are all over the place and that doesn’t surprise me. I can tell you that my impression of the game is absolutely colored by the fact that I played it with my family. I have a wife, and two boys ages 10 and 4. In the last week each of them has come to me at some point and asked me to play Disney Infinity with them. The best part is that each time they asked, I really wanted to play it with them! If you ask any gamer parent they will tell you there are games you play with your kids and you play them because you want to play a game with your kid. You put up with boring gameplay or simplistic mechanics because you’re playing a game for kids. But like the best Disney movies, Disney Infinity 2.0 is a game that operates on two different levels and has plenty for you to enjoy along with them.

There’s no shortage of reviews out there that break down all the new features and that’s not really what I’m good at. I can tell you that the newly enhanced combat is a blast, the skill trees are robust and make me want to level up my character. The new Play Sets are also really fun. It’s true that the missions pretty much just ask you to beat stuff up but the fact is I love beating shit up in this game and so I was happy to do it. Each time I was told to go wreck a bunch of Frost Giants I was excited to do it. Here’s the thing though. I wasn’t doing it alone. I was doing it with my wife and that absolutely effects my experience. Each time Kara unlocked a new power with Iron man she got excited. We played the Avengers Play Set together while my 10 year old and I played the Guardians of the Galaxy Play Set. When I say I love this game I’m not just saying I love the game, I’m saying I love the experiences I had playing with my family.

My four year old just wants to play in the Toy box mode with me. I am in there building the world and dropping in fun stuff for him to play with. He also just loves playing with the toys by themselves.

We’re talking about a game here that resonates with every single member of my family and creates opportunities for all of us to play together in different ways. I woke up Sunday morning and came down stairs to find my boys playing in Toy box mode together.

Gabe was playing as a rotating cast of villains and creating a little story for Noah who was playing the good guys. They were creating their own adventure. “Venom captured a police officer and took them to the top of the tallest building Noah!, You have to come rescue him!” I heard Gabe say as I walked into the family room. I don’t know how you “review” that. What number do you assign to the experience of cuddling with your kids in your pajamas on a Sunday morning and playing a game together?

-Gabe out

Tycho / 15 hours ago

We were invited by NASA to see the SpaceX launch with our sons, though the weather didn’t cooperate while we were there and it had to launch the next day.  The trip was rad, though.  A trip whose core purpose did not occur still managed to be rad.  So, imagine how rad it must have been.  We brought Van (who does PA: The Series) over with us; I think there’s still something good there.

The boys got along very well, all things considered.  Also, you can be very interested and even obsessed with technology and still be surprised by how fast it moves.  You adapt to the new stuff.  But if you don’t know anything about “film,” or winding cameras, or exposure, the opaque little boxes we handed them were not cameras in any meaningful way.

The “launch” was scheduled for two-sixteen or so in the morning, which these boys were not aware was a real time.  In what will no doubt be the infinitive form of a verb whose conjugations will haunt him all his life, I allowed Elliot two, perhaps three sips of Coke.  Already, gruesome permutations have emerged.  I essentially have an eight year old teenager, one who maintains in Iron Maiden in reverse, until such time as he runs out of food or whatever in there and emerges all sweat and need.  He is not wrong to suggest, as he so often does, that virtually every part of these arbitrary hierarchies is bullshit.  The only advantage they have, really, is that they are infinitely preferable to the abrasions of the Chaos Winds.

I gotta perform my sister’s wedding this weekend, which is exciting because I’ve never written anything like that before, and also because of love or whatever.  I have the seed crystal of it, and it’s forking out through the solution now.  Making such an endlessly iterated ritual singular without the use of American Ninja Warrior-esque challenges or at the very least a timely murder is going to be tough.  I think I might like her girlfriend better than her, though; maybe on the form I fill out after the ceremony, I can make her girlfriend my sister and and make my actual sister the one I am now obligated to endure.

The upshot is this: the next time a couple asks me to jokingly perform a marriage ceremony at PAX, they’d better mean it, because I’m all ordained and shit.  Now, the spell of binding is terrifyingly real.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 4 days ago

We’re out of town, you know how it is.  Before we left though, our boys in tow, Gabriel and I talked about how at his house everybody wants to play Didney Infinty but for different reasons.

I feel confident he’ll break it down in more detail for you when we get back.  But between the main course “playset” content, Toy Box mode, and tiny men, women, and… trees, and raccoons to smash together, shit is apparently quite real.

These things are much more His Games than Mine.  I didn’t do too much Skylanders, and the initial content in the old Disney Infinity set didn’t endure - even with The Incredibles on deck, which is probably my favorite Pixar thing.  If my family is gonna play a game, it’s probably going to be something like Dixit.  It’s not a judgement.  He and I have different mechanisms for governing electronic entertainment, and mine - in its current incarnation a least - strongly privileges machines as venues for solitary entertainment.

Come to think of it, my kids don’t play console games at all.  They might watch me, maybe.  Mario Kart 8, or Rayman Legends.  But Consoles are essentially frontends for Netflix as far as they’re concerned, and I do something with these artifacts when they’re not around maybe, or it’s possible that they come in and I scramble to get the pause screen up so they aren’t doused in arterial blood.

I would never say that Consoles are bad, or “over” to coin a phrase; I’ve just given the counterexample in this very post.  But they’re…  and I have to laugh at this.  In my family they’re something dad does, like befriend waiters or swear in the garage.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 6 days ago

We had to act quickly because Gabriel told us the ride was over - he was quitting League of Legends for the whateverth time due to a string of nightmare losses.  I was in one of those games, a game we managed to lose even though the opposing team had fewer players, and it recalled the days when you were playing on dial-up and your foes were on broadband.  That was a thing, and not a good thing.  That night’s malefactors were having a LAN party at a crossroads, no doubt, their ears stuffed with demonic counsel.

What we determined over various tiny dishes heaped with pickles was that his Darius addiction had become a problem.  Darius is an asshole - look at his asshole face - but when shit goes south, he doesn’t have much of a response.  The trouble is that his “ultimate” ability is too fun.  You’ll play a whole round as him just to use that ability: called Noxian Guillotine, but more commonly called The Dunk, he jumps way up the air and then comes down on your head with a huge axe.  The animation is weirdly fast, and almost…  funny, as funny as a decapitation can be I suppose, but that’s not all.  If you kill a target with it, you can do it a second time.  This loop is incredibly addictive, but might not be a good overlap for his overall style.  The menu we cooked up looks like:

Wukong, who is a kind of Monkey Person,
Irelia, Magic Sword Lady,
Jax, Some Sort Of Guy, and
Talon, The Invisible Asshole.

A few roles to choose from, then.  Also on the list, anybody champion who beats you so bad you want to quit.  There’s this fucking fish dude one of us took up purely because it drives us nuts to play against him.  At this point, we just want others to suffer as we have.

As the last person on Earth to reach level 30, I have to learn other characters now.  At the level of play I’m shooting for, the requirement to

- Ban Characters, and
- Play As a Unique Character

means you can’t just play the equivalent of Ryu in every game; somebody else might be playing Ryu, or they might decide they don’t even want Ryu hanging around.  What this means is that I need to expand my roster.  And what that means is that I don’t win anymore, and I might not for awhile.  I’m cool with it now, I’m building the franchise.  But I do wonder what they’ll tell me, when I decide that being continually pulverized does not constitute a leisure activity.

(CW)TB out.

Tycho / 6 days ago

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