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Jack Gardner
Back in August, we put together a short campaign with Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition called Dragonguard as a part of Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend. However, the adventure never fully wrapped up and we have even more adventure in store for our heroes planned special for Game Day weekend! Join Naomi Lugo (Nomsooni the druid), Marcus Stewart (Scratch Mangy the ranger), and Kyle Gaddo (Barphus the bard) as they don the armor of the illustrious Dragonguard, sworn to defend and protect the realm of Alterra from the dragons at its doorstep. Jack Gardner serves as the Dungeon Master, guiding our heroes through their journey.
 
Dispatched to the small town of Verne, the party began investigating the rumors of draconic activity in the area. Learning of a kobold encampment deep within the Morrithil Wastes, they made their way into the vast swampland only to find a largely abandoned village built in the shadow of an ominous dragon skeleton. Encountering a number of old and infirm kobolds in the heart of the town, our heroes learned of an impending attack led by the vengeful dragon, Fallowfell. When we last left off, the party had just tried to alert the leader of Verne, Sir Rothurt, about the impending attack, but he seemed curiously distant, perhaps preoccupied with thoughts about his recently kidnapped son, Charles? The party decided to rescue Charles and force Sir Rothurt to listen to their dire warnings. 
 
If you want to get a sense of how great a time tabletop roleplaying can be, you're invited to enjoy the adventure along with us. If you weren't able to play games on this particular Game Day weekend, hopefully this adventure brings a little bit of Game Day cheer to you! You can listen to the new episodes below or start at the beginning with this handy SoundCloud playlist. 
 

 

 

 
Intro and Outro music:
 
"Furious Freak"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
For a limited amount of time, PC gamers can download Destiny 2 for free. Beginning today, people logging onto battle.net will be able to snag Bungie and Activision's FPS with the click of a button. This offer continues until November 18. To avoid anyone trying to game the system for more than one copy, any new battle.net accounts created during this period will be required to enable Blizzard's SMS Protect feature before claiming the game
 
If you've already picked up Destiny 2 on PC, you'll be given an exclusive in-game emblem that commemorates Destiny 2 being available for a full year on Battle.net. The emblem, however, won't be available until December. 
 
From November 9-11 players will be able to try out Destiny 2: Forsaken's new 4v4 Gambit mode without purchasing the expansion.
 
“We know Destiny players that want to play on PC expect an amazing experience, whether it’s on their own or with their friends -- so, our paramount concern was to keep the discerning requirements of the PC community in mind, and welcoming the Battle.net and Bungie PC communities together,” said Steve Cotton, Bungie's game director for the Forsaken expansion. He added, “With this gift we look forward to seeing new Guardians in our universe.”
 
You can redeem Destiny 2 as a gift by following this link. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
With a new Western-themed animated short, Blizzard introduced the world to Ashe, McCree's former flame and lawless renegade. Ashe runs Deadlock, a band of outlaws that McCree interrupts in the middle of the train heist players have seen the aftermath of on the map Route 66. 
 
 
Blizzard also released a trailer teasing Ashe's gameplay abilities. She appears to have the ability to launch herself in a given direction with a well placed shotgun blast and possesses a mid-range rifle that can be used in a more aggressive sniping style. The trailer shows her able to throw a bundle of dynamite and shoot it to detonate the explosives and take out enemies. Her ultimate move has her summon her trusty robot sidekick Bob to knock up enemies in a line and act as a kind of turret, blasting the people he knocked up while Ashe continues to rain havoc on her foes. 
 
 
Ashe is cool and a great addition to the OverWatch cast. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
RimWorld exists as one of those strange Steam Early Access titles that has been around for over five years but only officially released in the last couple of weeks. In an age where many Early Access games wind up in limbo forever or sitting abandoned, it's refreshing to see one emerge from development in a completed state. In a way, the condition of Early Access can be summarized neatly by RimWorld itself; full of failures, stagnation, and occasionally triumph. 
 
Ludeon Studios has put together a game that can best be described as a cross between Prison Architect and the capricious elements that would throw wrenches into the perfectly made plans of a city designer in Sim City. Players are given a number of starting scenarios on a vast variety of randomized worlds. From there, their job is simple: Survive. Players must build shelter for their stranded people, secure food, invest in decorations, provide for entertainment, and also build up defenses. Neglecting any of these risks destruction from raiders, crazed animals, or internal mental breaks. Players can win their game by escaping the planet via spaceship, but reaching the point of building or finding a ship can be a laborious process. 
 
The learning curve of RimWorld can be a bit steep when first starting out. Though a tutorial mode teaches the basics, nothing quite beats the experience of learning by doing. I went through several settlements while familiarizing myself with the nuts and bolts of the game before I managed to create a sustainable base. On one early attempt I thought I had discovered a successful blueprint for a long-term base, but in an instant it was swept away by a roaring sheet of flame from an errant lightning strike in the dead heat of summer. I could only watch as my colonists slowly succumbed to the heat from the flames they feebly attempted to control. In the end, only one colonist survived to attempt a new life in the ruins of the old base. He drifted toward death ever so slowly until a raiding party arrived and captured him, dragging him off screen to lord only knows what fate. 
 
RimWorld's emergent narrative design leads to these stories of death, but it also creates fantastic tales of perseverance. Sometimes a freak storm can light fires all over the map, potentially surrounding your base with uncontrolled flames. Other times, your most skilled colonist could find themselves dying instantly to a cave-in or a poorly constructed roof might fall on top of your best shot leaving them blind. Pressing on despite the setbacks leads to a great story, a personal story, about winning against the odds.
 
Of course, it might not be a glorious tale of survival, but players have some degree of control over the pacing of the story when selecting the parameters of their game. Each game has a specific style of emergent storytelling depending on the AI director that players choose during colony creation. Players looking for a leisurely pace or even just a pure building game can certainly find that in RimWorld, while those seeking a story that keeps them on their toes can select the most capricious of AI narrative designers.
 

 
Each colonist has a story that builds as you make progress farther into the game itself. It's a story that begins with their short bio page. These pages give some information about where the colonist came from and what sorts of personality quirks, both good and bad, they possess.The next part is, as they say, written in blood. Each colonist can take damage to various internal organs and limbs. Rough encounters can sometimes leave a colonist without a lung or missing one or more limbs. Proceeding farther along the tech tree opens possibilities for prosthetic legs or bionic eyes, allowing grievously wounded colonists a chance to regain or even surpass their previous ability. By the end of my winning run, only one out of my twenty colonists lacked scars, only a handful more weren't missing at least one limb, and my most capable shot was basically Robocop with all but one limb replaced with robotic parts and two synthetic eyes. 
 
Each day, colonists need to rest, eat, experience the outdoors, take in beautiful surroundings, and have fun. Without those things being in order, they will quickly fall into depressive funks and even experience mental breakdowns. These breakdowns can range from wandering sadly around the map to running around trying to set the base ablaze, or even attempting to murder a fellow colonist. If particularly hopeless, a colonist might just attempt to leave. Of course, players can capture them by placing them in jail alongside any captured raiders. Once confined, players can begin the recruitment process to bring a wayward colonist back into the fold.
 
All of this comes together to form a really interesting package. Managing the temperature indoors and providing power for various spaces like freezers to keep a stockpile of food handy can be a stumbling block early on, but RimWorld has a nice escalation of problems as it progresses. Eventually food becomes less of a problem, but generating enough power to sustain devices like high-tech labs or fabrication benches becomes a huge hurdle - especially when you need to make those parts to replace limbs, build weapons of war, or create a spaceship from scratch. From start to finish, RimWorld was designed to have the player hooked with one additional goal to work toward, regardless of circumstance. 
 

 
Conclusion:
 
It took me 124 hours of playing RimWorld to see the credits roll. I had a great time trying to figure out the most optimal builds for bases and clever defensive fortifications. It's not a particularly intense experience. In fact, I found it to be quite relaxing despite the insane amount of time I invested into it. That lends itself to this "one more turn" mentality, common in games like Civilization, taking hold. Hours seem to slip by as each objective slowly reaches completion. There are nitty-gritty details to nitpick about RimWorld, like how the AI sometimes doesn't seem to prioritize events or scenarios despite the finest of tuning on the colonists work priority lists. However, the only real request I had was more research options and a faster in-game speed. I played mostly on the fastest speed possible and making progress still felt slow. 
 
Overall, RimWorld is great if you are the kind of person who can sit and imagine interesting bases or are looking for a game that forces you to make your own stories by putting you through trials and tribulations. 
 
RimWorld is now available on PC.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
The party discovers the contents of Daria Stillhelm's mysterious package and its effects leaves Arakiel shaken.
 
We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory.
 

 
"The House of Leaves"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! We know that some parts of it are a bit bumpy, but I hope it doesn't get in the way of your enjoyment as we all learn and grow together. Thank you for listening! 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Edmund McMillen's The Binding of Isaac helped jump start the mainstreaming of roguelike elements in indie games that we have been seeing trickle into the AAA industry over the last few years. Mixing top-down shooting with the dungeon exploration of a classic The Legend of Zelda title, The Binding of Isaac plays pitch perfectly for what it's designed to be. The randomized elements fit together seamlessly for a gameplay experience that's never the same twice in a row. Over all of that, McMillen paints the story of Isaac, a small boy in a scary world full of horrible monsters (that still manage to seem friendly and charming despite being, you know, monsters).
 
Should this 2011 indie hit be considered one of the best games of all-time?
 
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative.
 

 
Outro music: The Binding of Isaac 'The Clubbing of Isaac' by Big Giant Circles (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02302)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well!
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
"A foot in the middle, a foot in the middle, a foot in the middle a foot in the middle a foot in the middleafootinthemiddleafootinthemiddleafootinthemiddleafoo-"
 
Can you hear it? The call of Cthulhu scratching at your mind's door? Cyanide Studio's adaptation of Chaosium's tabletop RPG releases next week and the launch trailer shows some of the harrowing sights and sounds players can expect to encounter on the island of Darkwater.
 
Following unexplained and uninvestigated happenings on the New England island that culminated in the death of Sarah Hawkins, P.I. Edward Pierce begins to dig for the truth. Pierce, a tortured alcoholic with PTSD, quickly finds himself wrapped up in a horrific plot and a world rapidly unraveling. The waking world begins to invert itself and reality itself starts to blend with dreams of horror. With distrustful locals and an eldritch entity rumbling from its slumber, players will have to do everything they can to maintain their sanity.
 

Call of Cthulhu releases on October 30 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! 

Jack Gardner
In late 2017, Davey Wreden, the creator of the comedy adventure game The Stanley Parable, released a game he developed with Ryan Roth, who worked on the music for games like Guacamelee 2, The Beginner's Guide, and Starseed Pilgrim. The result of their labors takes the form of Absolutely: A True Crime Story, a game about Keanu Reeves clearing his good name after being accused of murder.
 
Of course, as one might expect from the person who helped bring the snark of the narrator to life in The Stanley Parable, Absolutely exists as a work of comedy. It has its crude moments, a few curse words and coarse content in the name of humor, but it makes for a great 5-10 minutes of your time that will brighten your day. 
 
After you begin the game, it becomes clear that the main hook of the game isn't actually exonerating Keanu Reeves. in fact, being Keanu Reeves is a joke largely because it presents a complete non sequitur. There's no meaning to being Keanu aside from the gentle tickling in ones brain at the idea of Keanu Reeves doing bad things. instead, players walk the streets of NoCrimesVille and convince kids to break the law. This escalates to Reeves going on a killing spree that culminates in either him evading the law or being sentenced to death for his crimes. 
 

 
Absolutely was made in RPG Maker and makes use of what appear to be pre-built assets and a few pictures of Keanu Reeves. Players primarily wander small environments and interact with people in a hilariously simple RPG battle system that funnels you toward the conclusion of this totally true crime story. 
 
If you're interested in playing Absolutely: A True Crime Story, you can find it for free on Ryan Roth's itch.io page. It's not a deep game and it has a sense of humor deeply rooted in nihilism; as a distraction and a deconstruction of the traditional RPG, it works really well. Check it out if you want to experience something out of left field. 
 
Note: Keanu Reeves is actually really nice and not a criminal in real life. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! 

Jack Gardner
Faced with a giant, blue demigod, the party throws caution to the wind and decides on an audacious plan to save the captive Daria Stillhelm. I'm sure everything will go well for our heroes with absolutely no stumbles or slip ups! 
 
We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory.
 
 
"Werq"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! We know that some parts of it are a bit bumpy, but I hope it doesn't get in the way of your enjoyment as we all learn and grow together. Thank you for listening! 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

iambrooke_
This summer, I met an incredible young man named William Miller who changed my life, and the lives of everyone who got to know him. I want to tell you about him because I want to make sure his spirit lives on in the efforts of Extra Life players all over the world, this November 3rd. I think Will would be very into that.
 
If you are able to donate, know that goes towards funding life-saving equipment, and for funding crucial patient support programs like Streetlight, ChildLife, and Arts in Medicine. I work as the Assistant Director for the Streetlight program. Streetlight is a peer support program for adolescents and young adults who have to be in the hospital for long stretches of time, or who have to come in often.
A lot of patients we see have cancer, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell, or are waiting for an organ transplant. Our goals are to help patients endure long hospital stays, whether it’s through watching movies, playing games, finding any excuse to have a party, or if it’s just hanging out and helping people pass the time, vent, or just be.
 

 
We say in Streetlight, “We Get To Carry Each Other”, and believe that life's ultimate privilege and joy is getting to live it with the folks you love. Streetlight normally only sees patients 13 and up, but we were told by multiple doctors, nurses, and specialists about a 12-year-old boy who was years beyond his age. His mom described him as a 25-year-old stuck inside a 12-year-old’s body… and because I’m basically a 12-year-old in a 25-year-old’s body, we hit it off pretty quickly.
 

 
Will had just about played through every video game he could get his hands on. He knew the backstories, the intricate plot details, even the “conspiracy theories” behind all the video games we both loved, and we’d talk for hours about them. It wasn’t long after I introduced Will to Streetlight that he had a following of Streetlight volunteers who loved hanging out with Will, goofing around, and listening to all the hilarious and often profound things he had to say.
 
Will was actually the first person to join the Streetlight Gaming League, our online video game community in Streetlight that allows patients and volunteers to connect through gaming, text, and voice chat whether they are here at Shands or back at home (I'm repping our Gaming League Shirt in the photo, which patients get upon induction to the league). Will had his own YouTube channel where he made game reviews and hospital life vlogs. I remember seeing his intro for the first time. “Ripped Pheonix” was his name. The title shook on the screen to the sounds of dubstep video game music. I loved it.
 

 
His friends at Streetlight made sure he got a never-ending supply of great games to try out and review on his channel. He also had a habit of getting them into all sorts of shenanigans. Ask me sometime about our volunteers Logan, Michael, and Chris walking miles around hospital units to catch a Pokemon for Will on Pokemon Go. He wasn’t always the most eager to hang out, though. Sometimes we’d swing by and he’d be in terrible pain, or he’d be extremely down. He was going through more pain, complications, and struggles than most adults would ever have to bear in their lifetime.
 
Throughout it all, though, I could not for a second imagine a more perfect family for him to have at his side. His mom, dad, and sisters sat with Will through all his pain, heard his frustrations, and had an incredible way of letting the hope inside Will shine through even in the darkest times. We’d all talk about the crazy stories his parents had about Will-- all his memories, his jokes, his plans for his YouTube channel, his favorite gamers. Even on his roughest days, we’d hear him say a sarcastic comment or some words of love and knew Will was still in there.
 
This post was written by second-year Extra Lifer Drew Walker playing for UF Health Shands Children's Hospital. You can learn more about Extra Life at extra-life.org. 

Jack Gardner
Dream Daddy, a dating sim about a cul-de-sac inhabited by a bevy of dads who may or may not be looking for romance, released last year for PCs. Computer gamers the world over rejoiced in the quality dating sim adventures of a dorky dad being a nerd with his daughter and finding love in the most unlikely places. It was quite good! 
 
Now, the PlayStation 4 is poised to receive a port of the best dad dating experience out there when Dream Daddy: Dadrector's Cut releases next week on October 30. The updated title restores content cut from the initial release of Dream Daddy, along with new sidequests, and a new mini game. Players will even be able to play through the various mini games on their own without trucking through the full dating sim itself. Basically, there will be more doggone derpy dad moments and that's always a good thing.
 
 
The Dadrector's Cut will also be available as a free expansion to players who already own the game for PC, giving everyone an opportunity to hop into the pastel worlds of dads and daughters one more time. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! 

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