If you know me, then you know that Forza Horizon is my jam, at least where racing games are concerned. I love the open world-ness and exploration. This may be the Forza Horizon 4 demo, but this is how the full game will open, I'm certain. You start with a quick tour of all four seasons and then jump into Summer races and activities, including a movie stunt driver stint that I messed up hilariously on the first try.

You also can review some of the settings (like how to turn off Rewind, which I consider a dangerous crutch that once ruined me for other racing games) and some of the early character customization options (J chose the nickname "Nitro"):

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I was on the fence about Destiny 2: Forsaken but I enjoyed enough of Year 1 to give the second year (aka Season 4) a shot.

The game has already evolved quite a bit. Most of my mods were toast so I ground them down to component bits. My Solstice of Heroes mid-level armor, which I ground solo for, is nearly all retired. But I'm enjoying the new story and game dynamics (even though PvP is not my jam) so I'd say it was a worthwhile investment. You can watch the first 40 minutes (gameplay proper starts about 10 minutes in):

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Untitled Goose ProjectPAX West 2018 was our 15th PAX – we’ve been to every one since the first in 2004. The last several years have been a mixed bag but this year we threw out the game plans and mostly had fun.

We played lots of games. Some we loved, like My Friend Pedro (sort of a mashup of Deadpool, The Matrix, and Happy), Untitled Goose Project (dubbed Asshole Goose and Metal Goose Solid for lack of a final title) Resident Evil 2, Irony Curtain (a satiric adventure game from the makers of my favorite hidden object games), What the Golf? and many more.

A few weren’t so great - notably Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which demo’d only land and sea combat battles that left us lost and pining for a satisfying demo like the one made for Origins just last year.

We gave up on parties, including Bethesda’s epic but super selective shindig at the Hard Rock in favor of good games and talk with the devs and PR folk who would speak with us. We’ll post many short but sweet interviews over the next several weeks so keep checking the podcast feed for more great gaming content.

We also finally bought camp stools to keep our aging knees and feet from giving out. Best $8 we ever spent. Why didn’t we do this years ago instead of turning our feet into sausages over four days of near constant walking and waiting.

To kick things off, I’ve posted audio from two of the panels from the show. You won’t be able to see what’s going on but they’re still great listens, and we hope you enjoy them:

Telltale’s The Walking Dead Reunion Panel

Telltale’s The Walking Dead Reunion Panel

Sexy or Stupid? The Great Video Game Sex Scene Debate

Sexy or Stupid? panel

Each panelist brought a game clip and after a brief discussion of each, the audience voted it sexy or stupid. It was a lot of fun but definitely not PG.

As with interviews, you can download these from our podcast page, on iTunes, or via RSS feed.

NecrobaristaNecrobarista is one of those games that, when you stumble upon it at PAX, you just have to investigate.

What is a necrobarista, you wonder? Well, if you have 5 minutes, we get you the answers on this interesting visual novel/point-and-click adventure hybrid due early 2019 on Steam, PS4, and Switch.

This is another of our floor interviews from PAX West 2017 (read our full report).

You can download Busy Gamer Nation from our podcast page, on iTunes, or via RSS feed.

Once Upon a PuppetWe were drawn to Once Upon a Puppet by its shiny, polished graphics. You wouldn't have expected to find that it was the game's first public demo.

It takes less than 5 minutes to learn about this very indie project's origins and development, recorded at PAX West 2017. The game still isn't out yet so there's plenty of time to hear about its charms before its anticipated release on Steam early access and eventually PS4 and Xbox One.

This is another of our floor interviews from PAX West 2017 (read our full report).

You can download Busy Gamer Nation from our podcast page, on iTunes, or via RSS feed.

As an owner of the We Happy Few game preview, I received the final launch edition today. First, about the running time: It's nearly an hour but at least 15 minutes of it is the game credits, which I triggered by taking my Joy (worth 15 gamerscore) near the start of the game. This ended things abruptly and I decided to record the full credits, partly to enjoy a good bit of the game's soundtrack.

Anyway, if you watched the Game Preview run that I posted in June, once this gets started for reals around the 20 minute mark, you'll see some key differences - notably more handholding as you rise from the tunnels and a lack of random passersby who would attack you for wearing the wrong clothes in the seedy part of town:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

CollidalotCollidalot is a new take on party games due on Nintendo Switch later in 2018. We spoke with the creators back when a Switch release was still a distant dream.

The game started as a game school project but has grown into something to see. We're wondering if we'll still see the PC and Xbox One releases discussed in the interview. Got 5 minutes? Hear these fledgling game designers describe their project better than many pros.

You can download Busy Gamer Nation from our podcast page, on iTunes, or via RSS feed.

The final PAX game interviews are on the way as I rush to clear the backlog before PAX West 2018.

 

Battle Chef BrigadeAfter four days tromping the show floor, Battle Chef Brigade is the last interview we recorded at PAX West 2017 (which may explain why the subject sounds a bit on the tired side) but it probably won't be the last we post (we have 2-3 left).

An RPG-lite, Battle Chef Brigade is more like an improvisational puzzle battle game than a cooking sim. It's also out now on PC, Mac, and Nintendo Switch.

    

This is another of our floor interviews from PAX West 2017 (read our full report). 

You can download Busy Gamer Nation from our podcast page, on iTunes, or via RSS feed.

Additional PAX game interviews are on the way as I rush to clear the backlog before PAX West 2018.

As a major fan of Clementine (one of the best videogame characters ever!), I was pretty much planning to preorder The Walking Dead: The Final Season anyway but the appearance of a prelaunch demo led me to give it a test drive before signing the papers.

It's more or less what I expected, though the demo is only slightly north of 20 minutes (or I'd have gladly filled the full 30 minutes for you):

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Donut CountyEvery year at PAX West, it seems, a game thoroughly charms us. Sometimes those games never see the light of day, like with Kitty Disastrous.

Donut County was our favorite game last year, and it finally has a release date: August 28 on PS4, PC, Mac, and iOS.

Got 5 minutes? That's all it takes to hear about the game's mechanics, inspirations, and why we love its raccoon protagonist even if he is a bit of a scamp.

This is another of our floor interviews from PAX West 2017 (read our full report). 

You can download Busy Gamer Nation from our podcast page, on iTunes, or via RSS feed.

Additional PAX game interviews are on the way as I rush to clear the backlog before PAX West 2018. Stay tuned!

Assault Android Cactus is a twin-stick shooter, a genre I've never had much luck with. But the game's humor and developer commentary carried me through the first boss battle, so I may just stick with it.

It's free this month for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, so I recommend you give it a look and - if you can - a play. If you get stuck, try the developer's commentary for some hints on how to proceed (I'd nearly figured it out but the commentary pushed me to lean into the winning strategy):

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I quite liked Shadow Complex on the Xbox 360 but didn't get too deep as I was sidetracked by my desire for completionism. This time, with Shadow Complex Remastered (now on Xbox Game Pass), I've vowed to focus on the story and backtrack very little.

Take a look at how far I got in the first half hour of the game (I'm now 2-3 hours in and still having a blast!):

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I love underwater exploration games but never really get too far. Mostly, I think, because they tend to be Wii titles and I just don't play with my Wii very often.

Abzu, newly added to Xbox Game Pass, is a bit more abstract and fantasy-based than I expected but after a few minutes I started to find its rhythm and had some success in unlocking new areas and sealife:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I had no idea what Clustertruck was about. And this clearly shows in my performance for the first 20 minutes. That's the point when I realized that I had been beating levels based on sheer luck - you're supposed to jump from truck to truck as there is no steering of individual trucks you may encounter, including the one you start on.

I played an extra 30 minutes from that point so you can see the real game dynamic and a level each from the Halloween and Holiday packs:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I'm sure you know how much I generally love Artifex Mundi hidden object games but I'm cool on the Eventide series. Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends doesn't break the cycle of crazier than usual story and lack of bonus episode, and even with a small launch discount on Xbox One, it may be a pass.

Judge for yourself:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a free game that serves as a bridge to Life is Strange 2, due out in September. You can get it on Steam, Xbox One, or PS4.

The story revolves around 10-year-old Chris, who believes he can conquer his world with his imagination and desire to right wrongs as a superhero:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I love the open world driving of Forza Horizon but didn't get that deep into The Crew due to its over-the-top revenge story. Based on The Crew 2 Open Beta, the story is here not much better = kinda ridiculous actually, but no more so than most games of this type where you're tasked with starting at the bottom of the fame heap and working your way up to superstar.

However, the exploration is grand. After completing an Inception-like start where the world morphed from car to boat to airplane race, I chose the off-road track and then drove around the New Mexico countryside looking for coyotes and condors to photograph (hint: don't hunt at night and when you hear a beep, freeze the world for a shot and scour the area). I did find a nifty hidden bonus item right before ending my run but no coyotes until my second run:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

We picked up We Happy Few on Xbox Game Preview because it reminded us of BioShock though it's really more like State of Decay with a bit more story and a dark satirical edge.

Since we first tried it, the game has been greatly refined on the path to its August 10 launch and now has a lot more you can do. I spend the better part of an hour - that's right, 1st 30 Minutes is more of a guidepost and it's one I flew right by in my effort to capture the game's primary dynamics:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

I enjoyed the zombie combat of the original State of Decay but I'm not a big fan of resource management. State of Decay 2 appears to double-down on both, and it remains to be seen how far down this road I will ultimately travel. Maybe if I can spend more time exploring the world than managing my base, I will persist in my quest for survival.

This video captures 45 minutes of prologue and tutorial but for some reason I could not find the exact spot to claim my first outpost - so 15 minutes near the end is me somewhat hilariously running around and searching every spot for the right one to progress (fortunately there's no time limit, and I do eventually secure it):

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.

Grim Legends 3: The Dark City is the latest in Artifex Mundi's hidden object series on consoles (also available on PC). This one reminded me of certain elements from the Marvel universe: Incarceri Stones are pretty close to Infinity Stones, and the land of Lichtenheim sounds a bit like a realm that Thor might watch over. The trial portion of the game is pretty short, only about 12-15 minutes of play - ending with a villain escaping inexplicably via a (plot)hole in the roof that he might easily have entered by.

No matter as story and voice acting have never been the strongest reason to play these games - it's the puzzles, and there are a variety of types to enjoy:

For more like this, follow my Mixer channel and find archived streams in my YouTube channel.




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