Monthly Archives: May 2012

Pandora’s Lunchbox: Deregulating Decency With Dorks’ Dollars

Editor’s Note: The Following Article contains images that, while not genuinely pornographic, would not be a great thing for your boss to see over your shoulder. Please read responsibly. by Adam Maresca Thanks to the likes of open-source funding services like Kickstarter, the “marketplace of ideas” has never been more literal, or more troubling. Though their record is far from perfect, the service recently has come under fire again. This time the cause is the cancellation of the card game Tentacle Bento for, presumably, flagrantly violating the company’s obscenity guidelines. The fact the game tripled its initial goal and ran on the site for quite some time is not the major source of the outcry, though. It’s that the game was pulled from Kickstarter at all. That Which Must Be Preserved At All Costs. Insert Credit’s initial coverage by Brandon Sheffield is one of the main sources of the complaints that got the Continue reading

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EQUIP WOLF SHIRT >USE: WHISKEY// On the Limits of Comfort and Warmth

Imagine day in and day out enjoying something that in a very real way, engages you. You are not destroyed thereafter if you keep your wits about you. You’ll find yourself in common company, with those while not of a great kinship but still, of like mind. Some people find Jesus together, or Allah, or in their ethos, or of their ethics and love of philosophy. A recent BBC documentary called “Secrets of the Superbrands” made the rounds of the tech outlets, claiming that Apple products triggered what seemed to be religious reactions in the brain. These are the new confederacies. As the gulf between the rich and poor widens and we normalize and bat no eyelashes at grave injustices suffered at the hand of our fellow man day in and day out it seems so the capacity for empathy diminishes, even on a subconscious level. Continue reading

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Review: Treasure Adventure Game

Treasure Adventure Game may very well be the quintessential indie game.

A bedroom coding exercise by Stephen Orlando, founder of Robit Studios, Treasure Adventure game is a labour of love that took over two years to complete. Let me begin by saying that Treasure Adventure Game is excellent, and free. The game structure itself is a metroidvania that, in its emphasis on seafaring, shares DNA with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Although the game initially appears somewhat amateurish, with its somewhat simplistic graphics, uninspired title, and somewhat cliched introduction, Treasure Adventure game is a solid piece of design; it offers environmental puzzles that rely on iterative uses of a limited set of items, and progress in the game depends as much on figuring out the game’s systems as it does on acquiring new items. On this point, TAG is superior to the last several iterations of the adventure game series it mimics, such as Zelda and Metroid. Continue reading

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Life and Undeath in Chernarus: Why Day Z Is the Worst Best Zombie Game

Another recent viral phenomenon is the explosion in popularity of Day Z, a mod for the formerly-niche military simulator Arma II: Combined Ops. Only a few months old, Day Z is now so popular that Amazon recently ran out of keys for Arma II and a recent version of the mod added support for more than a million player characters in the central database. It’s officially a Thing.

Even more striking than the scope of the mod’s sudden success, though, is the way in which every game blog of note seems to be covering it. Rock Paper Shotgun and PC Gamer are publishing post after post after journal entry, describing the poster’s experience within the mod. Even the recent interview with the mod’s creator, Dean “Rocket” Hall, is mostly in the form of the interviewer and interviewee comparing notes about their respective experiences with the game.

So the question remains to be asked: why is Day Z so popular? Continue reading

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Intro to Gender Criticism for Gamers: From Princess Peach, to Claire Redfield, to FemSheps.

By Kaitlin Tremblay As much as we all love Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball — wait, do we? — we have to admit it brings to light some pretty unsettling ideas about women and video games: namely, that representation … Continue reading

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Memorial: Parting Words for Danielle Bunten Berry

by L. Meagher-Swanson For better or worse, I can no longer think about social gaming pioneer Danielle Bunten Berry without getting Elton John’s Candle in the Wind stuck in my head. “I would have liked to know you, but I … Continue reading

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Response: Shadow of The Partisans

by Steven Sukkau In an introspective meditation on attending Pax East for the first time as a journalist, Adam Harshberger writes about the developing medium of video games .Stunned by a sculpture near the Boston Convention and Exhibition Centre, Harshberger … Continue reading

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Close Playing Baldur’s Gate: Still the Same Old Daddy Issues

While Baldur’s Gate’s game play is still clunky — I can’t count the number of times I yelled at my party: “You can’t walk through walls, goddammit!” — the themes it engages with are still worthy of attention, nearly a decade and a half later. I’m not going to drone on about the game play mechanics and how it revolutionized the arena of PC gaming or how the Dungeons and Dragon RPG style is or is not stale. Instead, I want to get at an issue that is important to me as an adult feminist, and how Baldur’s Gate functions as a beautiful example of this: that is, the identity politics at the forefront of the narrative. Continue reading

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Girls, Games, and the Products They Create

Let me throw a couple of unsurprising claims at you.

1. Many girls play video games.

2. Many girls are geeks.

Neither of these are news to you, I would imagine, because for one thing, you’re reading something written by a girl who meets both those claims. For another, it’s just common sense. That said, a smaller percentage of all girls play video games or have geeky interests than is the case with boys. This might depend on your definition of “geeky interests” (or even “video games”), but basically, more dudes appear to be into it.

Indeed, of the entire “hardcore”/”real” video gaming or geeky interest population, the vast majority are boys. Again, no surprises. So, really, we shouldn’t be surprised that attractive gaming girls or geeky girls are extremely marketable. What does surprise me, however, is how people tend to cash in on it. Continue reading

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Postcards from PAX East Final: The Partisans

by Adam Harshberger During World War 2, a group of Polish underground fighters resisted the Nazi occupation of their homeland, and later, the communist regime of Poland. They fought and died defending what was theirs. On the last day of … Continue reading

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