usernamenumber: (sprite)
2014-03-28 09:35 am
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Game Reviews: The Swapper and Incredipede

There are two indie games I've been playing that I've been meaning to signal boost, on account of they're both pretty fantastic. Specifically The Swapper and Incredipede. Both are multi-platform and available via Steam or their respective websites, plus Incredipede is part of the current Humble Bundle. In other words, cheap! So you have no excuse! Opinions on each follow...


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In summary, although I feel a bit dumb writing reviews without having played all (or in the case of Incredipede even much) of the games in question, consider it a testament to their quality that I'm excited enough about going "guys guys, check this out!" to do so anyway. Both of them are original, beautiful, and obviously the results of a lot of talent and a lot of passion. If you're in the market for a new game, help out a deserving indie dev and try them yourself!

More at and

2013-08-30 12:03 am
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Gone Home

Just finished Gone Home. I kinda want to buy the people who made it flowers for making me cry.

(and also for proving that masterful sound design and multi-faceted storytelling can make up for having a 3D engine that looks like Wolfenstein)
usernamenumber: (devi)
2013-08-23 10:55 am
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When the boys who make games grow up...

(if this reads like a rant, it's not my intention, more just an observation with a question at the end... ok, and a bit of a rant in the middle)

A while back, a friend commented on the "dad-ification" of video games; the phenomenon where as game developers get older, male game protagonists go from being motivated by protecting/rescuing their female love interest to protecting/rescuing their female child or ward.

I thought, "huh", noting that while I hadn't played Bioshock Infinite, it seemed to fit the mold from what I'd heard, but I couldn't say I was personally familiar with the phenomenon.

Then I played Dishonored. And then I started Dead Rising 2. And then... you get the idea.

Not that I doubted it, but it's funny how as soon as the trend was pointed out, the next couple of games I played illustrated it perfectly.

I wonder how people would have reacted if in Dead Rising 2 you were looking for medicine for your helpless young son; not that I object to the helplessness in its self-- it's appropriate for a kid that age in the middle of a zombocalypse, but I have to wonder whether the game would be more likely to find an excuse for the kid to pick up a baseball bat and defend himself during a cutscene or something, lest his agency and masculinity be impugned (to be fair, maybe they do that later on with the daughter, but I kinda doubt it).

Or what if Corvo in dishonored was protecting a prince? With the same dialogue, would there be more complaints about the prince being "whiny" and "annoying"? Would the affection between Corvo and the prince prompt a bunch of pedo jokes? (because non-violent emotions between males are scaaary, and all male affection is probably sexual on some level anyway, right?... not that I'm bitter or anything)


I hope I don't sound like I'm on too much of a high horse here, I'm sure most of the motivations behind these design choices are quite innocent, but when something becomes a trend, or, dare I say, a trope, it denotes a certain lack of originality when it continues to be used over and over again, and it seems to me that the "hero is motivated by rescuing/protecting the (literal) girl" thing is becoming as much of a trope as the "hero is motivated by rescuing/protecting the girl(friend)" thing was before it.

Question: do any examples of games that subvert this (male protecting a boy, or woman in the hero protector role) come to mind?
2012-10-04 12:44 pm
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Xbox RPG(ish) recs?

M and I have been playing BioWare games together as one of our preferred "ugh, we has no brains tonight" activities for almost as long as we've been dating, and it's been a lot of fun. True they're not two-player games per se, but the stories and character interactions tend to be just interesting enough, and the combat just monotonous enough, that we just periodically hand the controller back and forth, and debate every quest and dialogue option. The fact that we've done this for four longass games (Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age: Awakenings, Mass Effect, and now Dragon Age II) without murdering one another is, I think, one of the strongest signs about our relationship. :)

That said, we've been thinking of branching out (he says, shortly after ordering a copy of Mass Effect II), so I thought I'd ask for some recs.

I've been thinking about what I look for in a game, and the list I've reached for myself (and I think it's similar for M) is something like...

Game ramblings ahoy! )

Soooo... yeah. I guess what I'm saying is: So far, BioWare has come the closest to having the formula right for me, but I'd kind of like to branch out. Any suggestions (needs to be available for the 360)? Games I've been considering include Arkham Asylum (not usually one for beat-em-ups, but the demo was interesting, and made M and I both nostalgic for playing Tenchu back in the day), Skyrim (really, this should be a no-brainer, but I tend to like to wait for games to come down in price, and Oblivion never grabbed me that much), and some other random RPGs that seem to have at least gotten OK reviews, like Kingdoms of Amalur, Two Worlds II, etc.


Edit Oh, also totally open to recs for actual co-op games. We've been enjoying Schizoid a lot, though it sometimes takes more brain than we have available in the evenings, and I feel like we should be enjoying Trine 2 more than we have. Probably worth another chance, that one.