Hello, good people. Thanks for stopping by again! As the proud owner of a video game blog and podcast, you’d think my days would be brimming with gaming, to make sure these entertainment options would be overflowing with my impressions and analysis.

Especially in the month of June. It’s a huge month for gaming with E3. While I love hearing about what’s new in the industry, and would have loved to cover these topics for OiO, I found myself with a lot of Dad stuff this month. There are legitimate news outlets like¬†Game Informer that cover E3 (check out their Best of E3 2019 awards), and if you have sites that provide better coverage, please share links in the comments below.

It was a slow month for gaming for me, but June was exceptionally enriching. My daughter turned one and we threw a kick-ass dinsoaur-themed party. We took my Dad to the best public golf course in Minnesota for Father’s Day. We spent some time on the lake, and I got to show my girl her first fish. I took my Dad to a Twins game for NDSU night, and we had all we can eat and drink at Taste of Rosefest. Also, I’m doing a lot of finish work in my basement, which has involved patching my floor, cutting out and replacing sheet rock, running surround sound wires and many more small but time-consuming projects. I also had a bachelor party where I played about three hours of drunk poker, and only lost $19 (I didn’t win a hand).

It’s been a hectic month. But hey, we did get OiO Episode 13: Tom and Scott have a Clever Title out. We are very close to posting our interview with Paul Charchian. And Spider-Man comes out July 2. I’ll be seeing it on the 5th, and I hope to have my impressions up on the site that day!

For the gaming I did do this month:

Borderlands 2

We got the band back together. Lance, Hobby Box Burns and I hadn’t played anything together since we finished Ghost Recon: Wildlands. We had been discussing what game to jump into next for quite a while. With the fourth member of our quartet largely indisposed, we have burned through about half of the game this month, in anticipation for Borderlands 3 this fall.

While the game may not be the masterpiece I remember from my first playthrough, it is still extremely fun. The humor is very good, and there are a lot more pop culture references than I remember. Like a fight on a volleyball court where you are battling shirtless dudes with aviator sunglasses, or where you have to bring a pizza into the sewers to lure out mutants.

The gunplay is still sweet, and the mayhem of having three characters running around is extremely fulfilling. I am playing a siren, focused on healing. For me, it’s one of the least fulfilling healer experiences. It takes me out of the firefight to watch my buddies’ health, and it is extremely annoying trying to shoot them while they are running around at the frantic pace of combat. Maybe it’s just because I want to be the hero who shoots all the bad guys, but I prefer to be a healers in other types of games. Except for the one time I hit Burns with a healing rocket. That was money.

Final Fantasy VI

I just scratched the surface of this beast, and I can see why fans rank it as one of the best games in the series. I’m about four hours in, and there are a number of notable characters. I miss the flexibility of the job system from V, but what I have seen of the story is exceptionally interesting. It branches in an impressive way early on.

I am a strong believer in “everything new is better than everything old,” but I have to make an exception for Final Fantasy VI. Maybe it gets worse as you go on. It’s hard to give an informed impression early on. But if you enjoy JRPGs, I would say this game is a much better option then, say,¬†Octopath Traveller.

Top Golf

Sometimes, you just gotta let the big dog eat.

So, this feels like a weird one. I had no idea what Top Golf was, I thought it was a fancy driving range. It’s actually much more of a game that’s set up like a driving range. You rent a bay, and have a number of golfers hitting balls at targets for points.

There are different styles of games, ranging from “hit the ball at any target at any time,” to “swing for specific targets at specific times.” I was the worst golfer in my group by a fairly wide margin, but I managed to steal a win by gripping it and ripping it with my driver.

I hope your summer is filled with wonder and adventure. I’ll be back next month to share my impressions on everything I watch and play. Thank you so much for spending some time on OiO.

Stay inside, kids! – Tom Awesome