Because of work, it's been a slow two weeks, gaming-wise. First, the roundup:
Total spent to date:
I was able to spend a few more hours on GTA4. With all the relationships you can/need to keep up, it's starting to feel like The Sims with guns and whores. Well, I guess all my Sims tend to wind up kind of whores anyway, but they definitely don't have guns.
In the game, there's various characters you can meet, and they'll frequently call you and ask to hang out. If you agree, you have to go pick them up, and then take them someplace they like, be it bowling, to play darts, to a show, drinking, or to a strip club. After the merry-making, you take them home, and the amount they like you goes up depending on how much they liked the date, taking into account your clothes, the car you're driving, and the activity. Different people like different things, like one girl likes when you pick her up in a hybrid, or one of the guys who love the strip joints.
Once a character likes you a certain amount, they'll offer you a perk. For example, one girl who works for the DA can reduce your wanted level if you give her a call, or a guy who will meet you and sell you discount guns.
The downside is that, like real people, they like you less if you never hang out with them, or if you turn them down when they ask to go out. The result is that you can easily spend more than half your time keeping ratings up for all the characters whose perks you want to use. There are downsides to being popular. Of course, you can ignore them for a while, but eventually you'll need to start seeing them again.
Other than GTA, I re-discovered some small games I picked up a while ago. Everyday shooter is a really stylish arcade-style shooter that heavily ties in the music to the graphics. Video here:
I also put some more time into Audiosurf. This is a game that has you racing along a track picking up blocks of various colors in order to form sets of three. The real hook is that the track is created and synchronized with any MP3 you want from your hard drive. Pick a fast song to get a fast ride with a ton of blocks. Pick a slow song to get something more relaxed. It's also very neat and good for playing in short bursts.
Games I'm sad I can't buy:
Age of Conan- It's Conan done as a massively multiplayer online game. This is good for me not to get, because I never seem to put enough time into them. Plus, I still have World of Warcraft that I could always play more.
Lost Winds- A neat looking downloadable for the Wii that has you controlling the wind with your Wiimote.
Drone Tactics- A strategy game for the DS that lets you control an army of robotic insects. Awesome premise, but I have a ton of these types of games already.
Penny Arcade: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness- The one I'm really sad about. It's Penny Arcade doing a Lovecraftian JRPG. That's 15 kinds of awesome, and it looked really good in the demo I got to see at work a few weeks ago. It makes me very sad to not be buying this one. Oh well, Lost Odyssey needs finishing anyway.