The Sandbox: August 4th 2012

Jurassic Park Builder

It’s time for another edition of The Sandbox, the weekly feature in which the GamerNode team members reveal what we’ve been playing over the past few days and what we’ve got on our plates for the weekend. This week we helped save the city of Gotham, spent some time with a cartoon Jeff Goldblum, and returned to the world of Skyrim, among other things.

Charles Battersby

I don’t have time to write about video games on the internet, old chum! I have to solve a series of criminal conundrums created by that nefarious enigma known as The Riddler! The streets of Arkham City are crawling with lawless fiends and only I can save the innocent citizens of fair Gotham!

I have spent far too much playing Batman: Arkham City in the last week, but when forced to leave the comfort of my Bat-tersby cave I’ve contented myself with the portable offering of Brain Age Sudoku for the 3DS. I need to keep my mind sharp if I’m to decode The Riddler’s murderous mysteries! I did manage to get in a runthrough of the 2.5D zombie game Deadlight. It was a mostly frustrating, but occasionally thrilling diversion, yet I can’t spend any more time with the other Summer of Arcade titles for the 360. No, I cannot rest until I’ve completed my mission in Gotham City and brought an end to the DLC rampage of Harley Quinn!

Will I defeat this crazed clown? Find out on the Sandbox next week. Same Bat-tersby time, same Bat-tersby channel!

Batman: Arkham City

Dan Crabtree

Jurassic Park Builder for iOS is disgusting. It’s addicting, employs the free-to-wait model PERFECTLY (the best this model CAN be done, mind you), and die-nooo-sawers. The cartoon approximations of Jeff Goldblum and B.D. Wong deliver, straight up. Roller Coaster Tycoon may have gone the way of Coney Island’s “Shoot the Gypsies” attraction, but park management sims have evolved into a monetization system that not only works, but works well. And no, I haven’t spent a cent on this thing because I have Olympic patience. You might not be so lucky.

Greg Galiffa

This has been an exhausting week back from vacation. I bought, played, finished and reviewed Splice via my self-loathing hate machine called the Steam Summer Sale. So y’all should keep an eye out for that. I’ve also continued my trouncing of Final Fantasy IV, which has rekindled my deep love for the Final Fantasy franchise. I may even take a stab at FFXII again. Who knows? Maybe Vaan’s ab paint will be worth enduring for Balthier’s stupendiosity.

Also due out soon is my review of Spec Ops: The Line. I’m trying to make it more involved than the usual review. A game like that deserves a more analytic piece. Short blip: narrative-driven, questioning military shooters should become a thing. Just sayin’.

Other than that, I’ve also started and hope to finish Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes sometime in the coming week. So, again, keep an eye out! Promises to keep.

Spec Ops: The Line

Eddie Inzauto

It’ll be a very simple weekend for me: if I have time for gaming, it’s all DEATH here. Darksiders II has found its way to GN HQ, and I’m more than excited to pull out my scythe and get to work.

Anthony LaBella

I caught a full-on case of Olympic fever and was also on the move a lot this week, meaning no time for The Witcher 2. My PlayStation Vita did get a bit of love, though, including hours of playtime with both Super Stardust Delta and Lumines Electronic Symphony. Talk about the perfect portable games, though I have to have to be wary while playing Lumines in public – sometimes I’m grooving along to the music without even realizing it!

Aled Morgan

I’m back on Skyrim this week, because I felt that I should maybe finish the main quest. On my current playthrough I’m 70 hours in, and that’s with most of the listed quests incomplete. I think this represents my opinion on Skyrim nicely. I love the game, but its story bores the hell out of me. What I do love is exploring. Skyrim is a giant fantasy playground, and that’s just how I play it, taking my time to get to any destination, justifying why I’m going to stop off in this particular gloomy cavern and generally just making my own story up as I go along. The things that stick in my mind the most about Skyrim are little vignettes like the following.

Go to Riften. Get this thing checked over! Astrid told me. Do you know how far away Riften is from the sanctuary, madam? It’s ages away. And the woods are full of wolves, bandits, and all kinds of magical madness. I said it in my head, however. No use in souring my relationship with Skyrim’s Dark Brotherhood. Not when it was just starting to get quite profitable. It didn’t help that apparently I was the Dragonborn. The wretched flying lizards hadn’t left me alone for weeks. A walk to Riften was sure to end in the death of two more dragons, a small company of bandits, and enough aggressive wildlife to fill a sizable menagerie. It would be a week of breathtaking scenery, punctuated by a few encounters, as mildly enjoyable as they were sometimes strange.

Well, when you think of it like that, it could be fun.

The Nightingale hood fastened around my head wasn’t enough to keep the rain from dampening my fur as I made my way from the hidden hollow. The rain was vicious tonight. Skyrim was a hard land, all mountains and snow and extremity. It was nothing like the warm winds and balmy evenings of my home. If the Gods were real, and oblivion I knew they were, they had set the weather to “foreboding” this evening. I’d hit Falkreath tonight and make for Riften in the morning.


“Teppic,” I told the innkeep. No reason to keep my name on the low. Nobody in Tamriel knew me. My name didn’t carry fear and dread on its single syllable when it was uttered by both the smallfolk and aristocracy of Tamriel, which is wasn’t, because nobody ever took the time to say it, seeing they didn’t know it.

I was much too good at my job for that.

To most of the mead-swilling Nord’s I was just another cat lolloping across their land. An Orcish mercenary, sitting at the bar with his horns sunk into his tankard, was also not predisposed to sympathize with a feeble-looking Khajit.

“What are you doing here cat? Get outta my tavern or I’ll gut you.” Equal parts menace and mead, I noted.

“Just here to rest Orc,” I said back, just loud enough for him to hear. Behind us a bard began to pluck at his lute and sing a few notes. “Leave me,” I said, but I knew he wouldn’t

“HA HA HA. I don’t need to listen to you!” He unhooked an axe off his back; clumsy, cumbersome, and slow. He’d barely managed to heft it for his first stroke before I’d pressed the point of my sword through the linkages of his plate mail. I wrenched the sword upwards and slid it out, leaving the Orc to fall to the ground with a clatter. His expression was one of genuine surprise. The room around me had lapsed into a terrified silence.

“Sorry about that ladies and gents. No need to get up, I’ll be going now. Good evening to you all.” Just because one’s a killer doesn’t mean one has to be uncouth about it. Maybe it’d be best to get out of Falkreath…

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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