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July 3
2014

IeSF Hearthstone Tournament: No Girls Allowed, Blizzard Says Otherwise

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Assembly No-Entry
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E3, and Nintendo in particular, provided an uplifting experience this year when I started to see how many games were utilizing female protagonists. Lady gamers make up half the gaming audience, after all, so it was encouraging to see devs start adding that representation into their titles. Then I heard about Finland’s Assembly Summer 2014 and promptly headdesked so hard I may have suffered mild dain bramage. You see, Assembly hosts International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) tournaments, the winners of which will move on to this year’s international finals in Baku, Azerbaijan. IeSF, for whatever reason, has decided that there will be no women’s division for the Hearthstone competition, so therefore women can’t compete. Like, at all. MORE >>

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June 20
2014

E3 2014: Ubisoft and the Lack of Lady Assassins

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Assassins Creed Unity Arno Dorian
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Assassin’s Creed: Unity was one of those games that I didn’t have any interest in when I first saw it, but cared more and more as the week went on and I got to see the ideas and mechanics explained and demonstrated more fully. It’s now become the first Assassin’s Creed game I’ve ever actually looked forward to. I was interested enough that I let the fact that all four of the playable characters were white males slide right by me without comment. Yes, I’m owning my white male privilege; or something. Others, however, did not miss that issue and brought up the question as to why there was a lack of female character options for the game. So why is that so? Creating a female character would have been too hard.

Cue headdesk.

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June 19
2014

E3 2014: Gauntlet Goes Back to its Roots

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When I was little, one of my absolute favorite games both in the arcade and at home was Gauntlet. Four people playing at once was just groundbreaking at the time, and the four characters being utterly distinct was fascinating… it meant a rush to be the goddamned elf so that you actually stood a chance of grabbing items and treasure before anyone else. The poor sucker who got stuck as the warrior got nothing except by the grace of his or her teammates.

Fast forward to the late 90s/early 00s for Gauntlet: Dark Legacy to continue the arcade chaos with full 3D graphics, vibrant character and monster designs, interesting expansions on the four original classes, and the buffest wizards outside of a Boris Vallejo painting.

Then the series…languished a bit with false starts and lackluster gritty reboots. The latest to try and tackle the button-mashing mayhem was Warner Bros. and I got to get my hands on the pre-alpha demo at E3. And you know, I think it’s actually gonna be really good! I hope.

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June 17
2014

E3 2014: Batman: Arkham Knight

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BAK_Sshot001 (2)
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[editor's note: Arkham Knight is the fourth, not third, installment of the Batman Arkham series. Thanks commenter Gyro for the correction.]

The bat is back for his third installment in the Arkham series with Batman: Arkham Knight, and it looks to be more of all the glorious same that made Arkham Asylum and Arkham City a thrill to play. Let’s take a look at the return of Scarecrow and what wonderful toys Wayne Enterprises has for us this time.

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June 16
2014

E3 2014: Dragon Age: Inquisition

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Dragon Age: Inquisition was one of those games that I greeted with immediate cynicism. While I only got a taste of Origins (any devs wanna donate a copy?), I bought Dragon Age 2 based on that limited experience, but grew increasingly disillusioned with each copy-pasted dungeon I explored, Isabella’s puns of “I like big boats, I cannot lie” notwithstanding.

I’ll own my bias: I was expecting to hate and dismiss the game altogether without giving it the time of day, but being the professional that I am I figured I should give it the chance to disappoint me in person. After sitting through EA’s presentation (which needed a better presenter; I’m sorry, but the guy speaking was clearly not comfortable speaking to an audience), I have to say I’ve come away cautiously optimistic.

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June 11
2014

E3 2014: The Brief Briefdown – Nintendo

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Today was the last of the big media briefings, so we finished it all off with Nintendo…from the comfort of the Media Lounge at the convention center. Rather than pack thousands of people into a huge hall, Nintendo (as you may know) decided to stream to millions over the internet, and I for one applaud the decision. Whether their games will be any good or not remains to be seen, but so far Nintendo is the winner of the five I went to and they have successfully convinced me to invest in a Wii U. Let’s take a look…

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2014

E3 2014: The Brief Briefdown – Sony

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Waiting for Sony was the perfect inverse to waiting for Ubisoft: registration emails were valid as proof of media credentials, we could get in line and let in right away, and THEY SERVED FREE FOOD AND BEER! It was an untold joy when I got a Corona, some tacos, and some donuts into my system. Plus, we managed to snag some sweet seats up really close to the action. Even before the brief started, I was feeling much more positive about the whole situation…which I suspect was Sony’s intent all along. When your press is relaxed, full, and a little bit buzzed they’re gonna think  you hung the moon. Fortunately, several of the games they had to show were actually worth our while.

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