Intro Music – Fathers of the Grind: A Gaming Podcast

Welcome to our BRAND-SPANKING-NEW podcast show: Fathers of the Grind.

This is a show about how the responsibilities of fatherhood collide with the world of gaming.

Stay tuned for full-length, regular episodes starting in January, 2016!

Until then, here is our intro tune for the show:

(Right click to download audio)

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What I’m Playing – Aaru’s Awakening

A rough night’s sleep.

Aaru's Awakening PS4

Aaru’s Awakening is a beautiful game. The developers used hand-drawn visuals to create a stunning experience. Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn’t meet the high standards set by the impressive imagery. It’s a very challenging game rendered nearly impossible by a control scheme that never feels quite right. I love the concept behind the teleport ability, and it makes for some very creative level design. As the game progresses, it demands such precise aim and movement that the controls become a hindrance. Perhaps it’s the way I’ve been trained to play games for the past 28 years, but the left shoulder button is not the ideal input for jumping.

Aaru's Awakening PS4

The weak-willed need not apply.

If you have PS Plus, you can get this game for free until the end of April. If you don’t, this one is worth a look if you see it for a discounted price. Keep in mind: the difficulty is real. I was reminded of games like OlliOlli and Trials when I played this game. For those who are up for a challenging puzzle-platformer, this might be for you. For the rest of you… Just look at the pretty screen shots and then move on.

Aaru's Awakening PS4

Aaru's Awakening PS4

Aaru's Awakening PS4

Head over to Bruised Thumbs for my full review of Aaru’s Awakening.

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What I’m Playing – CounterSpy

Stealth Action Goodness.

I should preface this by saying I love stealth games. There have been some great additions to the list of 2-D stealth games in particular. Mark of the Ninja, Stealth Inc., and Gunpoint were some of my favorites in recent memory. When I saw that CounterSpy was a Playstation Plus freebie, I downloaded it right away. Little did I know that it was one of the slickest games I’ve seen in a while.

CounterSpy PS4

The game looks really nice from a distance. Good news: a lot of the game is played from a distance. It’s a side-scrolling 2-D stealth game, and it looks the part. The guards smoothly patrol from side to side, and when they spot you, they quickly find cover and start firing and lobbing grenades. It all looks very slick…until it zooms in. The angles of the polygons don’t work as well up close. A good portion of the game is spent behind cover, so you’ll be zooming in quite often. To be fair there were only a few moments that looked flat-out ugly (the guards faces just look… wrong), but it took a little something away from the cool vibe this game has.

CounterSpy PS4

Continue reading “What I’m Playing – CounterSpy”

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Saying Goodbye To Old Game Consoles

All good things must come to an end.

My Xbox 360 is still sitting in its usual spot in my entertainment unit, and it’s getting awkward. I have SO many games downloaded on that system, but I have no idea if I’ll go back to them. It’s like the old veteran on the team who doesn’t get much playing time anymore, but nobody wants to tell him he should retire. “I’m still important! I’m the soul of this team! Right, guys? …Guys?”

I'm kind of a big deal

So as I begin to contemplate “life after the 360,” it reminded me of the times I’ve said goodbye to old consoles over the years. You see, I’ve never seen myself as a collector, and while there are certainly some consoles & games I wish I would have held on to, there is something to be said about letting go of old stuff that holds no sentimental (or actual) value. Here are the consoles I’ve said “Game Over” in my lifetime.

Atari 2600 – Probably in a landfill

Christmas of 1987, my older brother got an Atari 2600 with a box full of game cartridges. While most kids had already moved on to the NES, we rocked that Atari until we got our SNES in 1993. I really wish I still had that console, but alas, the Atari was sold for a few measly bucks at a yard sale.

Continue reading “Saying Goodbye To Old Game Consoles”

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Family Gaming Update: What We Are Playing

A family that games together…

1912136_989415088484_5293135678435326793_oIt goes without saying that I am an avid gamer. I like to play video games. Then I talk about them. Then I write about them. Then I start the cycle over again. IT’S SO FUN! (Yes, I’m a child.)

Fortunately for me, I’m not the only gamer in my household! Here is an update on what the rest of my family is playing:

Continue reading “Family Gaming Update: What We Are Playing”

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What I’m Playing – Knack

Knack is underrated.

Knack is NOT an amazing game. Some of the criticism it has received about its simplistic and repetitive combat is warranted (if not over-emphasized). Despite its flaws, Knack holds up as a solid action-adventure title.

Knack - PS4
“Say something about my simple combat again. To my face.”

 Visuals

From the opening scene, it’s evident that this game couldn’t run on a last-gen system. It looks like a Pixar or Dreamworks movie brought to life, and it maintains a steady frame rate throughout. On more than one occasion I found myself pausing to enjoy the use of vibrant colors and creative character design.

Continue reading “What I’m Playing – Knack”

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Playstation Plus vs Xbox Live Games With Gold – April, 2015

I’m always looking for a deal

So when games are FREE??? Oh, I’m the first in line. I watch the Playstation blog like a hawk to see when they update the upcoming PS Plus deals. I keep my eyes on the headlines about Microsoft’s Games with Gold lineup, so I’m ready to start downloading. Could you say that I’m cheap? A tightwad? Frugal? Poor?

Yes, yes, yes, and kinda.

Well, Microsoft and Sony are offering some great deals for subscribers to their online services. While I’m not usually a participant in the “Console Wars” (I love everyone, you guys), it’s interesting to me to see how the perks compare.

Playstation Plus vs Xbox Live
I’d pay to see that PPV match.

Let’s get to it then: How do the services stack up for April, 2015?

Continue reading “Playstation Plus vs Xbox Live Games With Gold – April, 2015”

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Xbox Live: Games With Gold For April

Microsoft isn’t joking around.

In celebration of over 100 million Games with Gold downloads, Microsoft is offering twice the usual number of free games to Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners. “We want to celebrate our fantastic Xbox Live community this April, and that’s why we’re so pleased to announce that Games with Gold will offer double the free games.”

Xbox One owners can download the following games FREE all month:

Continue reading “Xbox Live: Games With Gold For April”

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Zelda Release Date Pushed Back

2016 is going to be awesome… maybe.

In a move that surprised exactly zero people, Nintendo revealed that releasing the Wii U iteration of The Legend of Zelda before the end of 2015 is “no longer a number one priority.”

Zelda Wii U
I need to play this game.

In a short video announcement released on the Nintendo Europe YouTube page, producer Eiji Aonuma explained the reasoning behind the delay. Continue reading “Zelda Release Date Pushed Back”

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What I’m Playing – Valiant Hearts: The Great War

Valiant Hearts 1

A real war story

A young husband is a new dad, and he living in peace on a farm owned by his father-in-law. That imagery is instantly shattered by the arrival of German soldiers who forcefully enlist him into service. His wife screams and reaches for him as he is pulled away – the cries of his newborn son echo as he disappears from view. The father-in-law does his best to comfort his daughter and grandson, but he receives word that he has also been called to serve in the war… Continue reading “What I’m Playing – Valiant Hearts: The Great War”

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