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What we're playing

by: Randy -
More On: What we're playing
This is how the video game industry quietly powered through a pandemic. If the "problem exists between keyboard and chair," maybe it's time for a new chair? And some PlayStation developers shared their favorite Photo Mode screenshots.
This is what we're playing. And also mention if we have a New Year's gaming resolution ("4K" hardy har).
Sean Hattingh
No resolutions this side, just getting on with my gaming backlog that extends back into 2019 (at least). 
I'm currently powering through Jedi Fallen Order in a way that I feel should be commended. As an extreme arachnophobe, I was not expecting any spiders in this game whatsoever. The first time one of those nightmarish Wyyyschoks ambushed me I nearly had a heart attack and came very close to uninstalling the game. However, some sage advice from fellow arachnophobes over on the EA forums advised me to set the difficulty to story mode, lock on when a horrendous Star Wars spider gatecrashes my game time, and close my eyes while fighting it. So far it's worked wonders. Other than the phobia, the game finally clicked with me when I got a [spoiler] and I found out that [spoiler] is [spoiler]. This is a great Star Wars story game, even if I'm not 100% convinced by the gameplay yet. I'm definitely going to pursue the Platinum on this one. 
Eric Hauter
As the proud new owner of a Sega Dreamcast, four controllers, and library of maybe 30 games, I've been exploring gaming circa 1999. I challenged my 20-year-old Madden fanatic son to a game of NCAA College Football 2k2, and watched the surprise dawn on his face when I ran the score up on him in the first quarter. He eventually came back to beat me 35–32—mostly due to my insistence on trying onsides kicks—but it was fun to watch him figure the game out and adapt his current skills to a more base-level experience. "This is surprisingly good," was his review. 
We then challenged my eight-year-old to several rounds of Dead or Alive 2; this was back before the franchise went completely off the rails and simply became a boob simulator. She excels at fighting games, for a kid with no background in them, usually picking the female character that looks "cutest" to her and then whooping up on everyone with a few basic moves.
Growing tired of having my rear handed to me, I steered my crew of gamers over to Sonic Adventure 2, which has not aged well. My daughter seems to love it though, so that's where I stepped out of the room. There are a ton of other games to play—and I've already ordered a package with PowerStone and PowerStone 2—so I'm going to be Dreamcast-ing in between Red Dead Online hunting expeditions for some time to come.
Randy Kalista
In the spirit of my 2021 video gaming resolution to "Give it half an hour," Unto the End got 30 minutes of my time. Though I can't claim to have played it unto the end, haaaa. But my boy handed me a spear, my wife handed me a lock of hair, I waded into the Viking snowdrifts, and chewed through the QWOP-ish side-scrolling combat. Or rather it chewed through me. Not sure why "fall backwards and drop my sword" is a legitimate move. I'm guessing I won't stick around long enough to find out.
I'd like to think I'm a lone-wolf drifter with a paladin's heart. But I ganged up with some randos in Red Dead Online, was asked by the sheriff to not kill anybody for this particular mission, then succumbed to groupthink and clicked the Kill button in the end—watching a train run right over our hog-tied quarry. I joined a round of Texas Hold 'Em in Blackwater and walked away after doubling my winnings off a lucky 9-high straight. I moseyed on out, mounted my horse, and some player hyah'd his own steed around the corner, hitting me at full speed. I was dead before I hit the ground. I'm logging in every spare minute I can find.
Jon Krebs
I've been crafting my resolutions well into the start of 2021 now, and when I thought about tying games into my resolutions it became clear what it needed to be. That is to start to work through my Steam backlog before I pick up any new games or go on any more humble bundle sprees. I don't know how long I'll hold out, but I'm going to attempt to knock out, or put a few hours into, at least 50% of my unplayed games before I buy anything new.  Spoiler: With Bravely Default II coming at the end of Feb. I don't have a lot of time.
With that in mind, I've got two games I'm spending some time on this week.  First up is Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. I never actually played the original entry into the series, but I'm excited to dive into this game as it checks a lot of boxes for me. I've got a Google Sheet ready to track all of my miscellaneous side quests and collectibles, and my new controller at the ready so I can kick my feet up and sit back from the keyboard on this one.  
I've also made a fantastic new friend this week. Mice generally aren't my cup of tea. They eat my cheese, they chew through wires, and I have a general hatred for the League of Legends champion Twitch that has furthered my anger toward these sneaky little mammals. That is until now. Solving puzzles, slicing up insects, and being generally awesome, Quill from Moss has made me rethink my position. I'm only just over an hour into this game but it has me incredibly happy to don my VR again, and I'm looking forward to helping this little guy fulfill his story.