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April 16
2014

PAX East 2014: The Diversity Lounge

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Born from yet another foot-in-mouth moment from Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik (“Gabe”), the PAX East Diversity Lounge was mired in controversy from its inception. Was it a genuine attempt to bring attention to marginalized groups, or just a face-saving measure? Happily, I can report first-hand that the inaugural Diversity Lounge was quite successful at bringing much-needed attention to marginalized communities of gamers, and the people I spoke to there agreed.

“I’m actually very impressed,” admitted Samson Romero from Toronto Gaymers. “We didn’t know what to expect from PAX East, to be honest. But the support here is so amazing.”

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April 16
2014

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, Beautiful But Inaccessible

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There are a number of ways to make a game playable. Some games sport many a variety of ways to play while others present a linear world with varying paths to take in order to get to where the story, eventually, must go. Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2 holds a different kind of spot in the gaming world, especially for this disabled gamer. The game is playable, but the way that the game is designed will be a constant reminder that there are other players who do not have a disability and can play this game a lot easier. The game shoved my disabilities in my face so often, even in the beginning; the mechanics soon added insult to injury by adding even more inaccessible elements to halt my otherwise epic adventure.

The menu structure serves as a solid clue of how exclusive this game will become, even in the beginning stages. As someone with a substantial visual impairment I found the menu to be a frustrating gimmick at best. The menu structure is that of words in irregularly shaped font that looks like writing from a quill, placed on various parts of the left page in a book. What makes this menu so complicated to navigate is there was not any clear indication of where I was in the menu. I tried searching for a boarder around all the text, but since the book was lit up by candle light, I could not even tell what selection I was on so I could not explore the options menu to see if the controls could be mapped or subtitles, and or captions, could be enabled. I finally realized that the text my curser was on was flashing, but this made the text even more difficult to read. I had no choice but to start the game and begin the story, requiring help just to select the easiest difficulty setting.

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April 15
2014

Wootini’s Weekly Video Podcast #168

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It’s that time of year again when gamers converge on Boston for the annual PAX East videogame convention! For this week’s episode, I’ve got my friend Chris with me to talk about what we saw at PAX East, from the Diversity Lounge to the games on the show floor that caught our eye. Make the jump to see what we thought!

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April 14
2014

GaymerX2 to be the Queer Gaming Con’s Last

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GaymerX made history when it became the first ever queer-centric video game convention of its kind. The con’s founder Matt Conn made headline after headline as he spearheaded an endeavor to bring his dream to life: a safe space where queer and allied geeks could gather together to play the games that they love. GamerX famously made four times its Kickstarter goal in 2012 before welcoming thousands of gay geeks from all over to the halls of San Francisco’s Hotel Kabuki last August.

GaymerX2 or GX2, will take place this upcoming July in San Francisco’s Intercontinental Hotel, a significant upgrade in size. It is expected to be even crazier than last year’s event, and will see special guests like WWE’s Darren Young alongside BioWare’s David Gaider, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, indie game writer/developer Mattie Brice, and many more.

It will also be the con’s last…for now.

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April 14
2014

PAX East Party Beat: Made in MA

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PAX East is a magical time in Boston. Spring melts the snowy Winter drifts. Evergreen joggers put away their lycra leggings and run with flushed faces along the Charles River. Cuddly bearded gamer bears don snug hoodies and awaken from a hibernation of playing all the Holiday season releases. It’s this time when gaming enthusiasts, students and industry professionals descend upon the still chilly New England. For the fifth year, they convene in a kickoff party at the Microsoft NERD (New England Research and Development) Center tucked away beside MIT, and they celebrate games and initiatives that are all “Made in MA.”

Two floors of the office building are dedicated to the event. The eleventh floor features an Xbox One with Kinect playing Just Dance 2014. GSN Games reps gleefully entertain us with their moves and skills. Looking beyond the refreshments of cupcakes and nachos slathered with queso fondue, a huge banner is posted behind a table is NDA’s. A special Microsoft intern project is on display, but you have to sign several agreements to be nice and not tell a soul. No fun! Boston, however, has a bustling indie scene with several small devs and startups. These are the true stars of the evening.

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April 11
2014

Review: Disney Magical World

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If you enjoy living virtual lives where you get to run a business, do favors for people and go on adventures all while playing dress-up, then Disney Magical World is the game for you. Especially if you would like to live in a virtual world populated by your favorite Disney characters! Make the jump for my full review of this entertaining new Nintendo 3DS game!

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April 11
2014

Tomodachi Life Comes Stateside! (Still No Same-Sex Relationships)

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Nintendo surprised everyone yesterday by announcing the release of Tomodachi Life (Tomodachi Collection: New Life in Japan) in both Europe and the US this summer. With a hilariously self-referential new Nintendo Direct, Jack Trenin announced the game’s June 6th release date alongside an overview of the game’s features. This would appear to be a part of Nintendo’s previously announced plans to release popular titles that have yet to be localized (like Inazuma Eleven) outside of Japan.

Any game where my love interest can be stolen by a musclebound Reggie Fils-Aime or a scuba diving Satoru Iwata is a must-buy, let’s be honest.

But before we get too excited, let’s not forget Tomodachi Life‘s infamous ‘Gay Marriage Glitch‘.

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