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The daily Valheim meme round-up Sunday February 28, 2021

by: Charlie -

For anyone living under a rock, Valheim is a brutal exploration and survival game for 1-10 players, set in a procedurally-generated purgatory inspired by viking culture. It’s also the rising star on Steam, and with that success comes a large internet fan base. What comes with that is a wealth of hilarious memes to share. So, here’s a daily round-up of some of the funniest Valheim memes today.

Games N Moorer selects the best RPG of all time (while playing Overwatch)

by: Eric -

Overwatch is not an RPG. However, Joseph Moorer of Games N Moorer selected Overwatch as the game to play while selecting the best RPG of all time from a 32-game bracket. There are worse things to do with your Saturday afternoon during the pandemic.

Joseph has a lot of terrible matches. Right out of the gate, Joseph pits Dragon Quest against Everquest (Dragon Quest won). Runescape vs. Tales of Symphonia. (Tales of Symphonia takes it.) As usual, the conversation veers wildly from topic to topic, but the crew eventually settles on Final Fantasy VII (the original, hopefully) as the best RPG of all time. Shocker. This is pretty much because nobody on the team had heard of Ni No Kuni, and several of the team gave up their votes for Persona V in order to convince Joseph to promise to play it. I got a copy you can borrow, Joe. I got you.

Everybody has their opinions, and the crew seems to take RPGs pretty seriously. They know the words to a song from Kingdom Hearts. It's a fun stream for RPG fans, and it turns out that Joseph isn't half bad at Overwatch. 

Follow us on Twitter for announcements about when Games N Moorer is going live at @GamingNexus and @GamesNMoorer. Joseph streams on Facebook at http://facebook.com/gamesnmoorer/ and on Twitch at https://twitch.tv/gamesnmoorer .

Mass Effect Replay: The ugliest aliens you've ever seen in any universe

by: Randy -

Batarians are ugly. By human standards, anyway. Batarians have four black eyes. Six gnarly looking nostrils. Weak, shallow chins. Heck, humans even hate that feature in each other. But the thing I dislike most in the Batarians is that, in the Mass Effect universe, they’re the underdogs, and humans are basically going to ensure they stay there, unable to progress, as the underdogs.

The Bring Down the Sky DLC is something I ran into accidentally on my way to finding the blue lady (Liara). In Bring Down the Sky, the Batarians are driving an asteroid right towards a major population center on a planet. It’s an asteroid big enough to wipe out the dinosaurs. I’ve got four hours to stop it. When my six-wheeler is dropped from my ship and I land on the asteroid, I see how close the planet is—and its enormity on the asteroid’s horizon—which makes the ticking of the clock become very loud and clear in my mind.

But it's human greed and/or ignorance that brought the Batarians to this point. I'm not going to unpack the DLC's end boss spoilers here. But it goes to show why indeed the Batarians are repressed and are only perceived as endlessly violent because, perhaps, they're outgunned, outmanned, and don't have any other way of making themselves heard. That's...one side of the argument.

This video captures the end of Bring Down the Sky. I’ve been bumping and bouncing over peaks and valleys that look like GameStop stock prices. But this DLC’s finale takes me and my team (Tali and Wrex) into an arena-like shootout that reminds me of an arena shootout in Max Payne 3 of all places. If Shepard were to suddenly be sporting a bald pate and a cheap Hawaiian shirt, I’d be convinced Rockstar handled this level’s design.

I’m not playing on hard difficulty. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But I get to experience some more tough combat-centric gameplay. My weapons are constantly overheated from, well, me not laying off the trigger, but even more from enemy biotic attacks. I’ve got only a few minutes to clip the correct wires to disarm some demolitions charges scattered around this Max Payne arena. Which would be fine, but I’m barely a few parsecs from Eden Prime where I was doing this exact same thing against main bad guy Saren.

I can’t complain about it being a completely repetitive mission structure, because this time I’ve also got drones flying around shooting at me from advantageous positions while I go about disarming bombs. That’s new! And did I mention those jerkoff biotic enemies overheating my weapons constantly? Oh man, what a new and exciting twist on combat!

My only other complaints stem from the idea that I’m pretty sure Wrex and Tali have no concept—or just don’t care—about friendly fire. They don’t realize—or they’re teaching me a lesson—about the perils of me still being in level one armor when I should be in level four armor. But I only want to wear my level one armor because it’s the iconic Commander Shepard armor, y’know, with the red stripe down the sleeve and the N7 on the chest. I can’t go around in superior armor if it doesn’t have the N7 on the chest. How else is everybody supposed to know that I’m a top secret special forces operative?

Post-Bring Down the Sky, I’m given plenty of downtime back onboard the Normandy. I love this ship. The doors look like portals. The hallways look like I’m time traveling through them. The mechanical components are chunky. The interior, from the bridge to the loading bay, looks like it was meant to hug my uniform, to draw sharp lines against my jawline. Normandy and Shepard are both handsome devils.

I wrap things up with a deep dive into engineering with Tali. She likes my engine and stuff. While we talk, the background spins and pulses with the crackling energy of the Mass Effect drive. She’s never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anything like it. And I remember back to my playthrough of Mass Effect 2, some 11 years ago, when Tali becomes the woman I romance. You have to remember, Mass Effect is just a dating simulator with a sci-fi backdrop. All the Reapers and E.L.E. asteroids and four-eyed aliens are just window dressing to what really makes up the core of Mass Effect’s gameplay: trying to get one of your crew to sleep with you. It's only creepy if you make it creepy.

Which reminds me—I’m looking for the blue woman. Liara. The asari. Those are the female-presenting species that can go full XX or XY chromosomes as needed to mate with anybody they want in the known universe. If you’ve somehow stumbled across hermaphroditic images of this iconic blue alien woman at some point in the last 14 years of existing on the internet, well, that may be fan art, but it’s fan art with a basis in Mass Effect’s reality.

It’s getting weird. Goodnight! This has just been one more hour-long step in my replay of the Mass Effect trilogy, hoping to have rolled credits by the time the Trilogy’s remake launches this May.

The daily Valheim meme round-up Saturday February 27, 2021

by: Charlie -

For anyone living under a rock, Valheim is a brutal exploration and survival game for 1-10 players, set in a procedurally-generated purgatory inspired by viking culture. It’s also the rising star on Steam, and with that success comes a large internet fan base. What comes with that is a wealth of hilarious memes to share. So, here’s a daily round-up of some of the funniest Valheim memes today.

What if The Last of Us and The Division had a baby? Here’s more of The Day Before

by: Charlie -

The Day Before first came to my attention when our own Randy Kalista wrote about it looking like, and I quote, a “zombie-fried The Division”. As a fan of The Division and zombies, safe to say this piqued my interest. I have just watched the new combat gameplay video released during IGN Fan Fest 2021 and I am convinced The Day Before is the love child of The Last of Us and The Division. 

Kudos to whomever put this video together for the spectacularly hilarious ending.

The Day Before is an open-world MMO survival set in a deadly, post-pandemic America overrun by flesh-hungry infected and survivors killing each other for food, weapons, and cars.

The Day Before's launch is "coming soon" to PC [Steam page]. P.S. this console player has his fingers crossed that it also comes to console. 

Our pet troll in Valheim looks like it's resigned to the fact that this is his life now

by: John -

Valheim, you surprise me a lot. About a week or so ago, we captured a troll. It was something to say the least. And every time we would get near it, it would get angry and start swinging his big tree trunk at us without any hesitation or prejudice. It was rather dangerous trying to make the surrounding area nicer to display our troll.

Last night though, something happened. I was trying to lower the ground around him so we could see him better and I noticed he wasn't angry. He wasn't trying to kill me. He was just standing there, sniffing the air, and would occasionally bend down to pick up something to eat. I don't know if anyone was throwing anything in the hole with him, but I did toss in some mushrooms and cooked meat. I doubt it did anything other than make his hole more crowded, but I wasn't going to let him starve.

I lit up my torch and looked at him. He looked at me. We stood there. Viking face to troll face. I think he understood. This is his life now. He has chosen to accept it. He's not being hunted. He's safe and he has food. No longer living in the Black Forest, the troll has decided to make the best of his situation.

So with that, I continued to build an observation deck around him. Maybe one day I'll set him free. Maybe one day he'll take up a hammer and help us continue to build our village. But for now, he knows he's there and he's not getting out. He's given up trying to kill us. He's just content on getting food and watching us build around him.

We've broken him.

What we're playing

by: Randy -

In response to an increase in carjackings and violent crime in Chicago, an Illinois legislator is looking to ban the sale of all violent video games in the state. Arcade classic Frogger will become a game show. A game show about dodging high-speed traffic? What could possibly go wrong? And rapper Soulja Boy is (again) attempting to introduce (another) console into a market that still 100% remembers his rebranded Chinese consoles from 2018.

So, what are you playing?

Russell Archey

As of right now I'm apparently the only person on the planet not playing Valheim so I might have to change that at some point. This weekend will likely see me finishing off Cathedral for my upcoming review. I enjoyed Alwa's Awakening and while I haven't had the chance to play Alwa's Legacy yet, I'm always up for checking out what Elden Pixels publishes. So far, them and Decemberborn Interactive have done a pretty good job with Cathedral. Not perfect, and I do have a few nitpicks along the way, but still a fun Metroidvania-style game.

Eric Hauter

Every now and then, I get myself into a situation where I am playing a bunch of games that I'm not able to talk about due to embargoes. For those not familiar with the way embargoes work, in order to review games, writers must often agree not to discuss them until a certain date. Not all embargoes are the same though; there are a number of different levels of restriction. For example, sometimes you are allowed to say "Hey, I'm playing xx game for review." Sometimes, you are able to talk about particular aspects of games, so long as you don't spoil the story. And sometimes you sign an NDA that says that you won't discuss the game at all, even with family members. So, given my current situation here's what I'm going to say: I'm currently playing a game on PlayStation 5. I am also playing a game on Stadia. Oh, and I'm still getting richer and richer in Red Dead Online. I can talk about that one.

Randy Kalista
Maybe my skills have improved a little since Mass Effect first came out in 2007. But in this replay of the trilogy, the combat is more of a pushover than I remember. Fourteen years ago, Commander Shepard's first firefight on Eden Prime was insane. The shootout with Fist's guys in the strip club was insane. Those aren't even boss fights. Maybe I shouldn't pat myself on the back too hard until I reach Matriarch Benezia and Hovercraft Saren. I mean, I did take an L from one of Fist's Krogan bodyguards as he pistol whipped me whipped me to death because the camera rotates like a tank. Also, I'm pretty sure I'm catching friendly fire from Tali who's trigger happy even when I'm in her shotgun's cone of fire.
And of course I'd love to step back into Valheim to carry out bigger and better building projects. But I may have already reached the stage where I stop playing and just watch YouTubes of other people building stadium-sized longhouses, or Sauron's tower, or the Millennium Falcon out of nothing but beech trees, for heaven's sake. Otherwise, I saw someone on Steam reviews say playing Valheim is like playing Minecraft again for the first time. And that just might be the most accurate one-line review of anything I've ever read in my life.
Joseph Moorer

I turned my Zelda 35th week into a month. I want to play as many Zelda games as I can. I beat the original Legend of Zelda (NES) to kick it off, and am currently midway through Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. A Link to the Past is next, as well as stuff Zelda/Link is featured in. (Mario Kart, Cadence of Hyrule, Super Mario Maker 2). I'm going to also try to finish Max Mraz's Ocean's Heart, as it was heavily inspired by the princess. Breath of the Wild will make an appearance as well. I will probably sprinkle a Miles Morales 100% in there somewhere. 

John Yan

This weekend I'm going to take it easy on gaming as I have a few reviews I have to finish up. That said, I'll probably drop in a quick session of Valheim to continue building an observation deck around our captured troll. Although Randy did show me a picture of a troll wandering around in a moat that surrounded a base. That might be something I might take some time to do.

I know I've done all I can in #KILLALLZOMBIES but I do enjoy jumping into a quick session or two. It's a nice little time waster that lets me just go out and shoot large hordes of zombies.

Also, I'll drop into some old retro gaming with my Atari Fightstick with Trackball and its many games housed on the Raspberry Pi 4. It's one of the best purchases I've made as it lets me experience old arcade games with my kids.

The daily Valheim meme round-up Friday February 26, 2021

by: Charlie -

For anyone living under a rock, Valheim is a brutal exploration and survival game for 1-10 players, set in a procedurally-generated purgatory inspired by viking culture. It’s also the rising star on Steam, and with that success comes a large internet fan base. What comes with that is a wealth of hilarious memes to share. So, here’s a daily round-up of some of the funniest Valheim memes today.

Mass Effect Replay: Galaxy map music forever and an extinction level event

by: Randy -

I could listen to the galaxy map music for hours. Ten hours, actually. You think I’m kidding. I’m picturing myself right now, in my Space Navy uniform, standing on the short platform leading up to a top-down view of the Milky Way inside the Normandy’s blue-lit hull. Ever been to the roof of the galaxy? Commander Shepard has. Every time they step up onto that platform. Look at me. I’m the Captain now.

Thank you, Sam Hulick, for masterfully composing “Uncharted Worlds,” the galaxy map music. I give all due respect to video game soundtracks as a whole, but I don’t often Spotify them on the regular. As good as they are, I’m not playing Minecraft’s soundtrack while I’m doing house chores, or bumping The Witcher 3 down the road. But (but!) there have been more than one nose-to-the-grindstone days at work where I’ve YouTubed that galaxy map music. The airy flute and plucky electronic cadence have kept me focused many, many times when the caffeine drip had long since worn off.

The galaxy map music continually runs the risk of becoming robotic and monotonous, but still somehow maintains an atmosphere of mystery and humanity. I’ve heard nothing else quite like it in gaming. So while I ended my last stream stepping up to the galaxy map for the first time, the part you didn’t see, after I shut off the stream, was me entering this song’s vast, meditative space, and feeling my 2007 initial playthrough of Mass Effect start to wash over me like 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. (I guess that’s something that gets lost in my no-commentary gameplays.) 

In the Gaming Nexus Slack channel, we often post some new track for New Music Fridays. But if I don’t post something, it’s usually because I didn’t hear anything fresh that caught my attention, and I’d rather just post “Uncharted Worlds” again but don’t. There aren’t too many songs making up the Soundtrack to My Life. But this sure is one of them.

I took the scenic route to my first mission as a Spectre: finding Dr. Liara T’soni. You know, the blue-skinned gender-fluid alien that sparked a “SexBox” debate on Fox News. Her. But on the way to scooping her up, I accidentally landed on the Bring Down the Sky DLC. Which has a great premise. The Batarians—who’ve got weaker chins than Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—make their introductions, and are currently driving an extinction-level-event-sized asteroid towards a planet. I’d insult them further, but they managed to Game Over me six or seven times between their missile-chucking drones and sniper-scoped minefields. Lost count of the number of times I shouted, "I've lost shields!"

I’m also given my first taste of the Mako, Mass Effect’s infamous six-wheeled all-terrain vehicle. Along with Mass Effect’s elevators, which I will likewise defend unto death, the Mako is a much-maligned aspect of the series’ debut. I mean, yes, I was nearly turtled onto my back more than once. Also, the Mako loves going from zero-response to full-180 when you’re turning the wheel. And, yeah, the jump jets are only just okay at bunny hopping missiles, but stellar at swan diving off lunar cliffs. But I blame the horrific topography of this asteroid more than I blame the Mako. The Mako just does what the Mako has to do in order to traverse the terrain. The Mako may be all over the place, but you know what it ain’t? Stuck. You’ll never get yourself into a situation you can’t get out of in that bad boy. And for that, the Mako gets an A+ in git ‘er done.

It is kind of terrible, though, I don’t know what I was thinking trying to defend this vehicle so hard for the past 14 years. I mean, I don’t hate on the Mako. But if you do, I understand. Here's my most recent no-commentary slow play of Mass Effect as we make our way towards the trilogy's rerelease this Spring.

Three new Pokemon games have just been announced, New Pokemon Snap gets a release date

by: Russell -

Earlier today the official Pokemon YouTube channel streamed a Pokemon Presents to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the release of Pokemon in Japan (technically the 25th anniversary of Red and Green's release is tomorrow, but I digress). In the video Tsunekazu Ishihara, the president and CEO of The Pokemon Company, talks about a few upcoming details to celebrate the 25th anniversary including a few on-going in-game events for Pokemon Sword and Shield, Pokemon Cafe Mix, and Pokemon Go. In addition a few new trailers were released, one of which was a new trailer for New Pokemon Snap which will launch on April 30th of this year.  However, the highlights of the presentation were trailers for not one, but three new Pokemon games...well, two of them are remakes.

Yes, we are actually getting the remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Pokemon Shining Pearl will let players partner up with Turtwig, Chimchar, and Piplup as they travel across the Sinnoh region. The game will look like how it did on the DS in terms of gameplay style, meaning a top-down isometric view as opposed to how Sword and Shield looks.  Graphically the game looks pretty good and the games are set to release later this year but while we were expecting this, what we got next I'm wondering if anyone saw coming.

The other trailer was for a brand new game called Pokemon Legends Arceus. The game will be set in the Sinnoh Region's past and looks to be an action-RPG style game.  You'll still battle with Pokemon and catch them, and it looks like your starter choices will be a mix from past games including Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawat. However, it looks like you'll be able to wander around freely such as in Sword and Shield, but catching a Pokemon will actually involve you sneaking up on Pokemon, aiming, and throwing a Pokeball at it. While the trailer does show a Pokemon battle, it does look turn-based but I'm curious if it'll somehow be different than the main series. Pokemon Legends Arceus is set to launch in early 2022 and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more info.