December 2nd, 2013
[Sam, I know you have no self-control when it comes to buying games. Please, for your own sake, don’t read this article]
If you’re anything like me, you spent many hours shopping last week but made sure not to tell anyone about it, so as to avoid the backlash from folks fighting for the rights of department store employees to spend Thanksgiving with their family. So, wink wink, I totally didn’t go Black Friday shopping…
Since I didn’t get shopping in, Cyber Monday is where I need to snag up my deals on Christmas presents for… other people… yes, yes, other people. So for my blog today I’m going to cover some of the best places to get deals today for the gamer in your life.
First, stop by the Steam Autumn Sale. They have so many games on sale for ridiculously low prices. I have already bought a few for myself this morning (hey, sometimes video games are cheaper than scotch, ok?). The one I’m most excited about is a game called Reus. In this adorable indie game, you play giants who are controlling the world. You can make forests and water, put in minerals, and so on. But, you can’t control mankind, whose desires and vices always put them on the brink of destroying the beautiful planet you made. For $2.50, this game seems like a must-buy.
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December 2nd, 2013
Alex started off the week with her, Confessions of a First-Time Pokemon Player and shared with us how and why she is so fascinated with the new Pokemon X and Y games. As a first time player myself I can really understand.
Alisha shared her feelings about the rumor that TellTale Games just might be working on a Game of Thrones game with the world.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Nicole mused about why its so difficult to get families to play video games together at the holidays. Some good points for folks to consider as we move into the holiday season and we find ourselves with lots of relatives around when all we really want to do is kill zombies or rob and torture people.
Sarah used her Turkey Day post to examine the portrayal of indigenous folks in video games in her “Decolonizing Gaming” post. Definitely one to check out as we consider what Thanksgiving means to other folks.
And finally, I (Sam) round out the week thinking about how no matter how much next gen gaming may change the way that we watch tv or interact with our consoles, one thing has not changed…the disturbing use of rape as a trope in video games or various genres. Check out what I have to say about the time that I have spent playing a couple of the new next gen titles in Rape as a Trope: Next Gen Games and Last Gen Misogyny.
November 29th, 2013
Trigger warning: This post discusses and uses cut scenes of (attempted or threatened) rape and violence toward women. It also has some minor plot spoilers for Contrast and Dead Rising 3, but these spoilers take place in the beginnings of both games.
I have been a console early adopter for several generations now. The PS4/XBox One generation marks the third that I have pre-ordered, stood in line, or sold my soul to the devil to get at least one of the consoles at launch. And it’s no secret that the games that have released with these consoles have been at best lackluster. Most of them have been visually impressive, but the gameplay itself has left a lot to be desired.
Unfortunately, this generation has not been any different. the console selling games that were hyped in the weeks and months leading up to launch were delayed in the 11th hour. And most of you all will know that for me the title in question was Watch Dogs. Watch Dogs was the very reason that I was getting a next gen console and it just so happened that the XBox One was the console that I had chosen to play it on. (I have to admit that the XBox controller has been my favorite for the last 2 of the 3 generations). I had also made the difficult decision to not pre-order the PS4 because these was nothing that was really calling to me at launch (but my last post already let you know that I was week and gave in). Read more »
November 28th, 2013
I’m not going to beat around the bush: I’m pretty disillusioned and frustrated with the portrayal of the Thanksgiving holiday, something that I believe many of my co-bloggers would also attest to. It’s not that I hate the message of the holiday; encouraging loved ones to spend time together and being thankful for what you have are genuinely good messages. The food isn’t bad either (although as a vegetarian I am not particularly a fan of the killing of many turkeys, but I digress). But too often attached to the season are incorrect and demeaning portrayals of Native Americans, lessons on an incorrect and idealistic image of relations between the pilgrims and native tribes, and the mythical tokenization of their identities. Considering that it’s important to recognize today the real history of colonization experienced by Native Americans both in the past and present, I’ll briefly examine the generally problematic portrayals of indigenous characters in video games, some examples that are breaking the mold, and how an indigenous game studio seeks to dictate their own representation. I will give a disclaimer that I am not native/indigenous and my voice is simply not as important on this issue as the voices of those who are. If you’re looking for more resources, I recommend going here.
Read more »
November 27th, 2013
As an avid gamer who is strapped for time, I find that the holidays are turning into my “binge gaming” sessions because of the time off from work. Unfortunately for me, Thanksgiving is held at my parents’ house every year and therefore instead of binge gaming I have had to clean, but the idea of gaming after Thanksgiving piqued my interest and so I took to the internet to see what other family’s gaming practices are on a holiday like Thanksgiving.
Most people who actually expressed having played video games on T-Day in the past were those who did not spend the whole day with family or even admitted that they did not care for the holiday and spent it at home. I come from a family where we spend the whole day together; people arrive at 12pm and stay until 11pm, or even later depending on how much wine we’ve had. During that time we find ways to entertain ourselves, whether through the TV or discussing what we want for Christmas, but every now and then we play board games after dinner. Read more »
November 26th, 2013
For Telltale Games fans, this past week hasn’t been about waiting for The Walking Dead (okay, yes it has; it always is), but about the rumor that the company is in development on a game set in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire universe, a possible union many are calling a dream partnership. Certainly there’s a lot of potential there; Telltale has shown its strengths in creating character-driven narratives again and again, and Martin’s series, regardless of flaws or strengths, is known for the same.
But though I love Telltale’s work, and though I follow ASoIaF media, I can’t help but approach this with some trepidation. Good news? Possible. But: is there room for another narrative that brushes on the events of the series? Read more »
November 25th, 2013
So it seems my computer will not automatically put the ´ above the e in Pokémon. It does, however, recognize that Pokemon is not a word, while Pokémon is a word. Pokémon is truly an international craze, but one that for some reason I just totally missed. I would like to think that it is a generational thing, just like how I loved Gummi Bears and kids now love Dora. But the truth is, many of the people my age got into the Pokémon craze, even if they were on the older side of the revolution. This is embarrassing to admit, but until X and Y, I had never played even one second of a Pokémon game. I have had a few of you folks admit to me that you’re in the same boat; perhaps you have only watched a few people play (probably mocking them), have played a few minutes here and there, or maybe you’ve never played either, like me. I have been playing X now since it came out, and so I thought I would give my first impressions, reactions, and pose some questions. Keep in mind, this is not a review, nor is it going to be informative in any way. I am a noob when it comes to this game, though I am enjoying it immensely.
1. The Relationship
The first thing that confuses me about Pokémon is the actual relationship between the Pokémon and the humans. If you have never played Pokémon before, let me try and sum up the relationship (again, this is based entirely off of what I’ve gleaned from X). So you’re a Pokémon trainer, in training, so to speak. You travel through the world battling other Pokémon trainers and trying to get more training cred. A battle consists of you literally throwing a Pokémon into a battle area, where another Pokémon waits, and then they do things like headbutt and incinerate each other until one of them runs out of “energy” and “faints.” To get Pokémon to fight for you, you have to find them in their natural habitats, usually grass or flowers or caves, and fight them until they’re weak, and then trap them in a ball. Once you have trapped them, they go into your database (seemingly disappeared into binary code or something, until you call on them to come fight for you). Or if you’re like my friend Napa, you release all the Pokémon except the ones you can carry, because who are you to take them away from their homes and force them to fight for you?
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November 24th, 2013
The week started with a Power Hour Review of Blueline Games’ Hive and a plea (aka challenge) for opponents on Steam.
Alisha responded to the latest installment of Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes vs. Women in Video Game series, Ms. Male Character in her post, Put a Bow On It. Check it out.
Nicole looks at gender roles, toys, and toy advertisements via Debbie Sterling and Goldieblox.
Sarah defends playing for the story and watching Let’s Plays when you just can’t play the game.
Sam muses on the next gen console launch and gives her initial reaction to the Sony Playstation 4.
November 22nd, 2013
Today I am working from home like I have for most of the semester because I am on sabbatical and finally have some time to spend some dedicated research time (theoretically anyway), but today I am sitting at the desk in my home office rather than lounging around reading, sitting in the game room playing games, or keyboarding furiously with my laptop perched on my lap and a cup of coffee sitting precariously on the arm of the chaise. And why, you may ask, am I so much less comfortable today than any other day?
Out. For. Delivery.
That’s right, I’m waiting (im)patiently for my XBox One and I can hear and see the UPS truck as it pulls up in front of the house from this particular vantage point. It’s the console that I have been waiting for since I pushed the pre-order button 5 months ago. And this time I am waiting in the “comfort” of my own home. Read more »
November 21st, 2013
I have a confession: sometimes I like to experience games without necessarily ever playing them. In other words, I dabble in vicarious play. Whether it’s because of a lack of money or other demands for my time, I occasionally find myself turning to the internet to watch playthroughs. I pick the user with the least annoying voice and the best track record when it comes to discriminatory jokes or insensitive comments (bonus points are awarded if there is little to no player narration) and watch all the way through the game. Caught in the middle of end of semester papers and projects and looking for a short break, I found myself a playthrough of the new Bioshock Infinite DLC, Burial at Sea. But about half way through I stopped and wondered: just why is it that I find watching someone else play certain games almost as enjoyable as playing them myself?
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