What are you playing: Summer Lull

The summer is here and big video game releases aren't as frequent as the rest of the year, giving us time to tackle our pile of shame. What are you playing?


Summertime is the perfect time to attack the pile of shame. Major releases aren't as frequent this time of year, as everyone prepares for the fourth quarter push. So, it's time to finish off those games that were buried throughout the last few months. It's certainly a trend at Team Shack.

(Click any editor's name to visit their Twitter page. Follow Shacknews on Twitter for regular updates and giveaways.)

  • Garnett Lee: I’m going to get back on the finishing games track I hope with Dungeon Siege III, which I hear isn’t too long all things considered. I’ll also be continuing my return to Final Fantasy XIII. And I’m sure I’ll be building on to my skyscraper more in Tiny Tower on the iPad.

  • Xav de Matos: Pouring one out to the fine Shackers hitting the town at ShackCon! I also took a vote on Twitter to decide which title in my pile of shame I'd tackle, Dead Space 2 won hands down. I'm also playing Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D and Alice: Madness Returns.

  • Andrew Yoon: Infamous 2 is on sale at GameStop. Will probably have to pick that up.

  • Alice O'Connor: Wishing I was at ShackCon!

  • Jeff Mattas: I’ll continue to crawl through Witcher 2 at a snail’s pace, and enjoy every minute. Also, Frozen Synapse!

  • Steve Watts: Trying to knock out a few games from my backlog, in whatever time I can spare between watching the BioShock Infinite demo over and over again.

  • Ozzie Mejia: Weekends like this are made for clearing out the XBLA backlog.

Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 10, 2011 11:32 AM

    Xav de Matos posted a new article, What are you playing: Summer Lull.

    The summer is here and big video game releases aren't as frequent as the rest of the year, giving us time to tackle our pile of shame. What are you playing?

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 11:47 AM

      The Steam summer sale "camp activities" thing poked me to explore my backlog. Lots of comments on my gaming splurge here:

      Obviously I could have played any of these games at any time, but it's nice to also have other folks chatting about them, and to get suggestions (the ticket achievements) about interesting things to do with them. Well, that last part is hit and miss :-) but even with a terminally easy or otherwise not-too-great ticket achievement, it nudged me into installing and firing up the game, and then I had a good look around while I was there.

      So here's what I got from every ticket-able game that I spent more than 30 minutes on. (Already owned all of these before the sale.)

      - I don't have anything new to say about TF2, except that the achievement -- getting set on fire and then jumping into water -- is about the only thing that could lead me to play on instant-respawn 2fort servers. :-)

      - The Atom Zombie Smasher achievement was kinda hard! Not to mention that I had to power through an initial hump of just not getting the attraction of the game. Now though, it's clicked with me. It's unfair (at least in the unmodified campaign) and frequently unpredictable, but each bite-sized mission is a little interesting spark of tactical play. Failure is cheap enough that even the really bullshit occurrences are just funny.

      - I ventured into the pub servers of Monday Night Combat, and it's a lot more fun 6-on-6 than it was in my local games of 3-on-3. Not sure I'll stick around once the tide of noobs recedes -- seems like this game would be prone to having "GOD MY TEAM SUCKS" ragers -- but it's good times for now. The style still strikes me as a little too generic, but it's grown on me.

      - Every time one of these events leads me into playing more Defense Grid, I'm glad. I may even become competent at tower defense eventually. I'm getting to the point where I enjoy mazing, so that's a good sign yeah? I went ahead and picked up the map packs for it, more to just give the devs a small tip than out of any need for more content, since this game is filled with stuff already.

      - I only played A.I. War briefly, but it was a good laugh to crank it down to easymode and just wander around incompetently fumbling with the vast selection of commands and ships until I could generate a Death Swarm to raze the nearby systems. This is such an odd game, in a good way. The campaign is so incredibly customizable that I'm sure I could put together the right settings for a satisfying match, but I don't know that I want to put in the time (and brain) investment on that right now.

      - The Serious Sam "HD" ports are truly solid. They're exactly the Serious Sam games as remembered through rose-colored glasses. An ode to the simple pleasures of big guns, fast movement, open spaces, and hordes of dumb low-health enemies. (And precise mouse input and blazing framerates.) It's something I'll only play in small chunks, but that's not a complaint; sometimes I just want to backpedal and circle-strafe for a while.

      - The L4D2 achievement involved playing through the beta Cold Stream campaign. I'm not sure yet what to think about that campaign; but, it was interesting in that I managed to make it through by playing it solo using the "Last Man on Earth" mutation, which I had never played before. That's a tense way to play -- pretty cool.

      - I'd done some tutorials in Altitude a while back, but never gone online until this weekend. This game has the old-school PC multiplayer spirit, I think. Pubbing it up on a "low-level players only" Altitude server reminds me in a way of moshing around in the early Quake servers. Not only because of the game modes and the generally good-spirited players, but also because I enjoyed it despite sucking.

      - A.R.E.S. was amusing, and it delivers a good feel for the hosing down of bad guy sprites and hoovering up their loot pops. But I don't think it's my kind of game. The "sidescrolling platformer" bit of retro nostalgia is just absent from my gaming D.N.A.

      - Something about the gun feel in Killing Floor is... tasty. The constant gory grungy hideousness makes it a downer to play though. I imagine that playing it co-op would lighten things up, but I haven't done that yet.

      - I've gushed enough about SpaceChem in other posts. :-)

      • reply
        July 10, 2011 1:14 PM

        SpaceChem is so good, but such a brain melter. I can only take it in small doses. :D

        • reply
          July 10, 2011 7:26 PM

          Yup. It's great but not something I just dip in and out of, especially not after a workday that has already taken care of my brain-melting quota.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 12:24 PM

      GTA 4, AC2, and probably some baseball (2K11, obviously. Like I could play a sport, hah!)

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 1:14 PM

      Bully. I'm surprised at both how good it is and how compelling the gameplay is. I had no idea what I was getting into and came away quite pleased.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 1:48 PM

      still playing..and cant stop playing battlefield bad company 2.. and i wanna play through the latest medal of honour again as that campain was pretty NIFTY! :)

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 3:56 PM

      My goal is to play through my 360 backlog since I had almost a year of my life stolen by the horrible beast named WoW.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 4:02 PM

      FoNV, L4D2 with an old MMO buddy, eventually Just Cause 2.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 4:04 PM

      I finished off the first Puzzle Agent and started up the second one. Also played a little bit of Darksiders. All around great game playing.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 4:04 PM

      I just beat Bad Company and am jumping on Bad Company 2. This was my thrid attempt at Bad Company and it never caught on till now. This time I loved the game! The levels really open up after the first few stages and I really wish I had stuck through to see how awesome it got my first two attempts. 2 seems pretty different so far, but I am super early.

      I am also playing Alice: Madness Returns. I really like it since I am a long-time platformer fan. I hate that people say it is too long, but I guess I will find out for myself.

      I am also going to try to plow through Fear 3 at some point and hope to try to finish up Dragon Age 2 or Persona 2 at some point over the summer.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 4:19 PM

      What am I playing in the summer lull? Magic: The Gathering, and not the video game, the actual card game.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 4:31 PM

      Mass Effect 2 has taken over my life. Besides that probably go back and get gold on the final boss in Trenched, XBLA game of the year in my opinion, and maybe a little Brink. Might even dive into a couple of the many games I bought during the Steam summer camp sale.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 4:36 PM

      Clearing out my backlog. I just finished Duke Forever and inFamous, and am about to jump into New Vegas and Dirt 3.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 4:46 PM

      I got Crackdown 2 and the new 3D Castlevania for cheap and new LA Noire cases were released while I was on vacation, so probably those.

      • reply
        July 11, 2011 5:32 AM

        Castlevania also a recent cheap purchase for me. Its awesome!

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 4:55 PM

      Space Pirates and Zombies

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 7:58 PM

      I recently got a Retro Duo- a knock off system that plays NES/ SNES games. Going through some games I missed and a few I never finished. Don't imagine I'll get that far but it is fun going through all the games I used to play long ago an a few I missed

      Donkey Kong Country
      Tecmo Basketball- my fave BB game ever
      Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo
      Killer Instinct

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 8:12 PM

      Just beat Bulletstorm, it was pretty fun. Also have been playing a bit of Hellgate London, although after hitting level 13 it's losing some appeal pretty fast. Probably going to try TWII next!

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 9:08 PM

      I don't really have a pile of shame.

      I haven't been picking up many new games, and when I do get them I tend to play until I finish them.
      Currently working on Just Cause 2. I think I'm almost at the end of the main story.

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 9:18 PM

      I was about to jump into BioShock, but I'm now playing re-read A Song of Ice and Fire because book 5 is coming. With some breaks for SSF4AE on Steam!

    • reply
      July 10, 2011 10:38 PM

      Half Life 1. Never played it even though I'm old enough to have played it when it was new. It's very interesting to play an old classic for the first time and compare and contrast it with current game design/gameplay. I look forward to making a post once I've finished the game.

      • reply
        July 10, 2011 11:40 PM

        Half Life 1 gameplay > Half Life 2 (IMHO)

        • reply
          July 11, 2011 12:27 AM

          Counterstrike 1.3 > Counter Strike: Source (J/K)

          HL1 was great, although I remember killing some scientists I wasn't supposed to and I couldn't proceed. Didn't learn that for days.

          • reply
            July 11, 2011 1:10 AM

            But you get a fade to black if you do that, along with some text explaining that the "test subject failed to properly utilize human assets" or such.

    • reply
      July 11, 2011 12:47 AM

      Alice: Madness Returns and Red Dead Redemption (as if I will ever finish this damn game).

    • reply
      July 11, 2011 5:17 AM

      I was playing Fallout NV but after a chatty thread fired up Mass Effect 2 again. Third play through for me and I still love this game. I don't think I've ever played through a single player game as many times as ME2. Playing engineer for the first time and its pretty fun. On hardcore I am noticing that it seems a little easier than previous play through.

    • reply
      July 11, 2011 5:30 AM

      Persona 4, Witcher 2 and a bit of Castlevania Lord of Shadows!

    • reply
      July 11, 2011 5:31 AM


    • reply
      July 11, 2011 6:07 AM

      I am finally finishing the original Assasins Creed and plowing through the next two. After that, Folklore.....

    • reply
      July 11, 2011 6:53 AM

      Bleeding my face and brain for some account unlocks for GW2 >

    • reply
      July 11, 2011 8:13 AM

      Started Vanquish, beat the Double Fine trio of Brutal Legend, Trenched, and Stacking, and just started Alan Wake (which is great, except that I started it late night all alone and scared the crap out of myself).

Hello, Meet Lola