Every week on The Free Cheese Podcast, we begin with a segment called Now Playing where we talk about the games that we’ve been spending time with. In this article, we’re bringing a bit of that conversation to the written word because it isn’t dead yet.

We’ll share what we’ve been playing and we encourage you to ask questions or share your own thoughts on what you’ve been playing in the comments.

I’ve been waiting for a new Sonic game to play for as long as I’ve been waiting for new games. Sonic 2 was one of my first loves, and I remember playing it endlessly with my brother. I controlled Sonic, while he flailed behind as Tails and saved the day just at the last moment.

Part way through the PS2 lifecycle, I bought the Sonic Mega Collection Plus and was able to revisit the games I once loved. Again, in the midst of the PS3 lifecycle, I bought the Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection and relived those moments again. When M2 released them yet again as 3D Ages on 3DS, I bought them immediately.

The deep love I had with these games and the continued appreciation I carried into adulthood helped to create the desire for more of what I once had. Usually, the reality is that what we once had is trapped as a relic of the past and can never be recreated. Usually.

Sonic Mania is that exact evolution of my childhood. It’s the rebirth of everything I loved, given new life through years of lessons learned by developers and fans alike. It faithfully takes what made the Genesis games what they were and adds its own DNA to create a successor that could have been right alongside the originals if it weren’t for hardware limitations. It’s been such a joy to have Sonic back in my life again this week. I’m excited too, that despite beating it I still have a lot more to play. I’m excited to collect the rest that there is to collect and see what secrets await me in the menus.

DOTA 2! DOTA 2! DOTA 2! After watching a bunch of The International 7 (TI7), I have gravitated back to the game that I’ve become so invested in over the past few months. Boy oh boy did I miss playing this game and now I have some new strategies up my sleeve because of TI7.

Nowadays, I’m primarily playing as Sniper and I have grown into this character very well. I still base my leveling and item buying off of a guide that was created by another member in the community, but I’m not following it as strictly and put my own spin on the guide. I now try to make Sniper as fast as possible and give him a fast rate of fire. TI7 has shown me some of the most aggressive DOTA strategies I’ve seen in my brief exposure to the game. Using my new found knowledge, I have been “ganking” other lanes very early in the game to gain an advantage in the gold and experience count. Whatever I am doing seems to be working because I feel like one of the two most influential heroes in each of the last few matches I’ve played.

I am particularity proud of myself this week as I successfully ran the mid lane by myself to great success. Mid is important to each and every match in DOTA. If mid is lost early in the game, it is an up-hill battle throughout the rest of the early game and into the later stages of the match. It wasn’t the first time I attempted to run mid by myself, but this was the first time I was successful doing it. I did more than hold on own which was incredibly helpful in securing a fairly quick win in that match. Despite Joe thinking this game is a poison, DOTA has quickly become one of the most intriguing games I have played ever.

 C’mon. Like you didn’t see this one coming. Maybe it was too f-

….not slow for ya…

I’ll just stop writing altogether now.

….

Okay, Sonic Mania. I’ve been anticipating this game for a while now. I even had a footlong chilidog from Sonic (the restaurant) today in celebration. Though I forgot to order one of them there fippen jippers.

The majority of complaints from various Sonic fans have finally been answered, and it took more fans to do it. Sonic Mania has a nice blend of all the past classic 2D games and bundled with some new and refreshing details. Crossing the old with new, I’m happy this game officially exists. It’s like I don’t need to go back and play the other games when I have everything fused in this game and more. We did a Now Playing video on it, but I’m personally doing a play through as Knuckles in my own time. So far I’ve collected 2 chaos emeralds and 2 medals from blue sphere and I’m only in the third zone. Maybe that’s not that impressive, but it’s saying something in terms of my experience with this series. I wanted to play as Knuckles because I’ve gotten more of a liking to him lately. Watching Sonic Boom for the underrated writing has helped with this as I’ve been anticipating this game. If only I could punch my way through enemies like in Sonic Advance. That’s not a complaint, I just really enjoy this game and I cannot wait to discuss this further with everyone.

Here’s to Sonic Forces being decent. If not, I’ll always have Mania. The hype is real.

Posted by Joe Dix

Joe is the creator of The Free Cheese. He eats a lot of pizza and takes thousands of pictures of his pugs Oswald and Earl every day. He has a disorder that causes him to believe that he is Batman and his favorite video game is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

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