Playlist: July 14th

Well, been a bit of a chaotic week. I (Colin) got back from a trip home late on Monday, and scrambled to put a Goddamn Mondays together… and failed. Gar! Well, I’ll have something interesting for tomorrow, at least. Even though I’ve been watching so much EVO that I’ve barely done anything else.


Surgeon Simulator 2013


“Paging Doctor Unkle? We’ve got an emergency heart transplant patient on standby, and because of the poorly-conceived medical summit, you’re the only surgeon we can count on. Let’s get started! …Why are you breaking all the nearby beakers? It’s OK, probably just a case of shaky ha-STOP SMASHING HIS RIBCAGE WITH A HAMMER!”

“Now that you’ve broken every one of his ribs, maybe you should do your job and replace his heart? I’m not one to question a fellow practitioner’s methods, but did you have to cut out every organ to get to the heart, and drape said organs over your patient’s neck like a scarf? Whatever, just put his new heart in and we can get to work on rebuilding the rest of him. Or you could throw in the replacement nonchalantly and leave the clean-up operation to us.”

Whether you’re “serious” about treating your patients or find creative ways to end their lives, Surgeon Simulator 13 is a blast. Excuse me while I try to replace this brain in the back of a moving ambulance…

Civilization V: Brave New World


Civilization and I have always had a tumultuous relationship- I love the idea, I love the attention to detail, then I play it and I get so frustrated that nothing happens the way I plan, at which point I realize that I’ve been playing for eight hours. The new expansion was an opportunity for me to experience this pain anew, and experience it I did.

Let me be clear- this is a great expansion. The changes it makes to how diplomacy works are a huge gamechanger, the new AI is great, and it combines very smoothly with the religion and espionage mechanics from Gods and Kings. It makes Civ V a much better game. But Civ V is still Civ V, and it still drives me up the wall. And I still keep coming back to it anyway. God help me.

Ghost Trick


I picked this one up for my flight home from California, but the trip came and went without me booting the game up. Once I got home, I found myself with nothing to do (as my modem slid downhill rapidly, making my internet super unreliable), and gave Ghost Trick a shot. I expected it to just be a different flavor of Phoenix Wright- a visual novel where you play as a detective, only a ghost detective. Err, sorry, I said that wrong- only a ghooooost detective. Regardless, when I fired the game up, I was taken aback by what I found.

I don’t want to spoil the surprise if you haven’t played it yourself, but it is way more than a visual novel. The gameplay is an original, fascinating, engaging delight, with you exercising your ghost powers to solve the mystery of your own demise. I’m playing it on the iPhone, but it’s also available on the DS if you’re not big on the iOS. You need to play this game. It isn’t just fun, it’s inventive and delightful.

EVO 2013


Prompted by Colin’s EVO series, I watched this year’s biggest fighting game tournament like a hawk. Competitive Mortal Kombat turned out to be as lively as a birthday party in a funeral home, but every other game had its fair share of jaw-dropping moments. Momentous combos, never-before-seen strategies and a cast of colorful commentators made for one incredible weekend.

This pure adrenaline must be what the community talks about when they foam at the mouth over fighting games! Of course, my broad range of genres prevents me from ever becoming the next Daigo or Infiltration, but I’ve been stealthily eyeing my arcade stick in between matches. At the very least, maybe I’ll learn not to fall for Colin’s devious traps.

Colin’s Response:

EVO is sublime, of course, but I should take a moment to remind folks that you can get grade A fighting game action year round. There are tournaments constantly, especially Wednesday Night Fights which takes place every Wednesday night, full to the brim of SoCal killers. What struck me this year at EVO was seeing names I knew so well step up their games. Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez played some of the greatest Street Fighter I have ever seen, old Super Smash legends like Armada came out of retirement to show the world what they had, and Marvel was just nonstop madness. If you missed it, I really genuinely feel sorry for you, and I’ll encourage you to look up the top 8s on YouTube once they’re archived.

I love fighting games, and it is watching things like EVO that taught me that love. The unbelievable comebacks, the incredible mindgames, the courage and the skill and the fury. But more than just the competitors, it is the crowd. The crowd, who will cheer for anyone who shows heart and talent. Who roared for a Japanese man even as he took down an American player, because he’d won them over. It’s a crowd that is so honest, so accepting, so welcoming. Come to play, with fire in your eyes, and we will carry you on our backs to victory. Fight on, world warriors.

And hey, Duke, that sounded like a challenge at the end there. Skullgirls in half an hour?

Ben’s Response:

You know it!