What we’re playing

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Because of the holidays, this was the first week back at the office for many folks, and boy, did it feel like a long week. This week’s “What we’re playing” is coming a little late, because as soon as I got home on Friday, all I wanted to do is relax and play games — finishing Dead Space and finally getting to Left 4 Dead.

Here’s this week’s rundown. Tell us what you’ve been playing this weekend.

Emil Pagliarulo, Fallout 3 Lead Designer & Writer: King’s Bounty (pictured above), Dead Space, World of Warcraft, Mount and Blade, and Tomb Raider: Underworld.

Craig Lafferty, Producer: Kings Bounty, LittleBigPlanet, Midnight Club: LA, iPhone.

Ryan Lea, Programmer: Valkaryia Chronicles!

Orin Tresnjak, Graphics Programmer: Ninja Gaiden 2, Red Alert 3, Prince of Persia.

Andrew Scharf: Fable 2, Beyond Good and Evil, and just started playing Persona 4… which will probably take up all of my time the next month or so.

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What we played: Our 2008 favorites

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Well, we’ve reached the end of 2008, and what a great year it’s been for playing games. Like many other sites out there, we thought we’d share our favorites. Because we might have a little bit of a bias as to what our favorite game was, you’ll find no mention of Fallout 3 below.

Looking through the list, there’s definitely some differing opinions on what game was best. If you look at the #1 picks, Dead Space and Left 4 Dead appear to be amongst the favorites. I guess we’ve got a thing for games with severed hands on the cover.

After reading our list, be sure to let us know which games topped your list.

Happy New Year!

Cory Dornbusch, QA Tester: 10) Ninja Town, 9) Fable 2, 8 ) World of Goo, 7) Boom Blox, 6) Prince of Persia, 5) Far Cry 2, 4)Fracture , 3) Left 4 Dead, 2) Persona 4, 1) Dead Space.

Liz Beetem: 5) No More Heroes, 4) King’s Bounty: The Legend, 3) Fable 2, 2) Dead Space, and 1) Left 4 Dead.

Jonathan Bilodeau: 5) Fable II, 4) GTA IV, 3) Braid, 2) The Last Remnant, and 1) Tales of Vesperia.

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What we’re playing: Holiday Party Edition

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Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating 2008 with our annual holiday party. Good eats, casino games, prizes, and fun times with friends — should be a blast! When we’re not partying (or recovering), we’ll be playing the following games.

Have a great weekend!

Ryan Lea, Programmer: Stubbs The Zombie: Rebel Without a Pulse, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Kid Icarus, Castle Crashers (Insane Mode).

Jay Woodward, AI Programmer: Dead Space, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.

Sam Bernstein, Quality Assurance: Left 4 Dead and a wonderful game called Auditorium.

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What we’re reading….

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Maybe it’s that I spend too much time playing games, or the fact that I’m not a teenage girl — I’d never heard of the whole Twilight phenomenon until after the movie came out. I’m sure there are guys here that have read the books, but looking at the list below — it doesn’t appear anyone was lured in by the hype surrounding the film.

Here are the books, websites, and magazine WE ARE reading. Feel free to let us know what you’re reading, and if you’ve read Twilight, I’m curious to hear what you thought of it.

Kurt Kuhlmann, Designer: KJ Parker’s Engineer Trilogy, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (again), Captain Alatriste series.

Nate Ellis, QA: Forest Mage (by Robin Hobb), (re-reading) A Game Of Thrones. Also reading Kotaku and Penny Arcade.

Gary Noonan, Creature Animator: Just finished Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and getting ready to start The I.R.A. by Tim Pat Coogan. Can you tell I am a non-fiction guy?

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What we’re playing: Zombies have invaded the building

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As I expected, the release of Left 4 Dead has taken the office by storm. Our crack team of Team Fortress 2 experts are trading in their roles as Medics, Engineers, and Medics for the thrill of playing as disturbingly awesome zombies — like Boomers, Smokers, Hunters, and Tanks.

Of course not everyone is spending every possible hour playing Left 4 Dead — team members continue to play through Far Cry 2, Fable 2, Gears of War 2, and more.

Here’s our rundown of everything we’re playing. Have a great weekend!

Jesse Tucker: Left 4 Dead, TF2, Dominion (Board game, very nice).

Joel Burgess: L4D, Far Cry 2, Netflix on NXE!

Daryl Brigner: Left 4 Dead (PC) all weekend.

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What we’re playing: Horde Edition

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While there are plenty of games out there to be played, Gears of War 2 is getting a lot of talk around the office — particularly for its incredibly addictive Horde mode. This week I lost a fair amount of sleep time battling the horde late into the night with fellow co-workers. 

In addition to Gears 2, many are preparing to be zombified by Left 4 Dead — playing the demo over and over. Coming from Valve, this game could become the biggest craze at the office since Team Fortress 2.

Here’s the full rundown of what we’re playing…

Ryan Lea:  Fallout 3 or Gears of War 2.

Chris Esko, Gameplay Programmer: Fallout 3, Gears of War 2, Castle Crashers, Dead Rising, Wii Sports.

Fred Zeleny, Dogmeat Wrangler: Enjoying Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, Rock Band 2, Left 4 Dead demo, but somehow finding all of my time going into Incredibots.

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What we’re playing: Gaming Overload!!!

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It’s getting hard to keep up with all the games coming out. “Wait, what…how are we already in November…how do I keep up?” is what I’m hearing from the devs. This week alone, both Gears of War 2 and Resistance 2 hit shelves. Things get even busier with Mirror’s Edge, Call of Duty: World at War, Wrath of the Lich King, and Left 4 Dead around the corner.

Here’s the games we’re keeping up with this weekend. Let us know what you’re playing.

Sam Bernstein, Quality Assurance: Fallout 3, Fable 2, Dead Space, and the Left 4 Dead demo.  Sooooooooooooo much fun.

Pete Hines: Fallout 3.

Kurt Kuhlmann, Designer: Far Cry 2. Fable 2.

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The Beards of Bethesda

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Last week at Kotaku, Luke Plunkett saluted the in-game beards of Fallout 3. After reading it, I found it only fitting to pay homage to Beards of the Bethesda Game Studios. Earlier in the year, devs at the office competed in a “beard off” between the months of February and May. Like hockey players refusing to shave during the playoffs, many of our team members were able to fight through the itch and keep the beards on.  While not pictured, I tried to go without shaving for about two weeks, but my scraggly mess was driving me mad.

Anyways, above is the before, and below is the after…

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Someone grab the Gillette Fusion!

What we’re playing: So much awesomeness!

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As we near the end of the October, the list of games we want to play continues to grow. Devs are frenetically playing through the likes of Dead Space, Fable 2, Far Cry 2, and more — so they can move onto games like Wrath of the Lich King, Resistance 2, and Call of Duty: World at War when they arrive. Too much awesome!

Have a great weekend!

Cory Dornbusch, QA: Burning the Serengeti dry grass in Far Cry 2, running around Albion with my dog in Fable 2(I named him Dogma, get it! har har har.), and Dead Space to see how many ways Isaac can die in the most gruesome way. Kudos to all the dev teams that made these truly awesome games!

Joel Burgess: So much Fable 2.

Ryan Sears, World Artist, Zombie Aficionado: Fallout 3, Fable 2, a (hopefully) epic session of Fury of Dracula tonight, and maybe some Last Night on Earth this weekend.

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What we’re playing: Beta testing Sack Boy

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Last week I felt very lucky to be one of the few folks with a LittleBigPlanet beta key. While I created very little, I’ve had a blast playing the game. This week I’ve got company, as a few devs were able to track down a beta key. I can’t wait to see these guys come up with. Will Daryl create his next RenTest? He better get cracking, the beta ends this weekend.

Here’s the rundown of the other games we’re playing.

Daryl Brigner, Level Designer: Mount & Blade, Brothers in Arms: HH, and Little Big Planet Beta.

Larry Waldman, QA: LittleBigPlanet Beta (thanks Nghi), Fable 1.

Craig Lafferty: LittleBigPlanet Beta, Fallout 3.

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