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July 22
2014

Indie Darlings: Shovel Knight

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Now and again we feature indie games of note, either for their content relevant to LGBT2SQ* communities, or just because.  Welcome to Indie Darlings:  Shovel Knight Edition.

It would have been easy for Shovel Knight to be a derivative nostalgia pile on, a sort of rosy-coloured 8-bit bukakke.  The hunger for all things old-school is ferocious right now – from Capcom’s Mega Man 9 & 10, to Nintendo’s NES Remixes and resurrection of side-scrolling Mario, to Ubisoft’s reverent love letter to incredibad 80s action movies in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.  The market’s clearly there as children of the 8- and 16-bit eras are sprouting grey hair and lapping up reminders of their misty youths and the delightful, punishing, delicious and delirious games that once sustained them.

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July 1
2014

Gaymers (Cos)Play Their Way Through World Pride 2014

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Over the past weeks, Toronto has been home to World Pride – the first time it’s been held in North America – hosting art and music festivals, human rights conferences, marches, parties, and drawing an audience of millions from across the globe.  Toronto Gaymers (a group that has gown to hundreds of members since we first featured them) have been busy throughout, presenting a panel on diverse voices in gaming, mixers, card game, board game, and fighting game events, and (of course) cosplay.  In outfits designed to weather the withering heat (and the barrage of water guns along the route), and amid a torrent of 12 000 marchers and activists from more than 50 nations that stretched on for hours during World Pride 2014′s culminating Pride Parade, the Toronto Gaymers got the crowd cheering.  Check out a gallery of their best after the jump.

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June 4
2014

Luigi’s Got His War Face On In Mario Kart 8

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Veteran Nintendo gamers know that underneath the bright and shiny exterior, every Mario Kart game – just like the Mario Party series – is really just a hyper-competitive death match designed to render even the most rock solid friendships unto dust.  In Mario Kart 8, out now for less than a week, it seems that Luigi knows this truth all too well and has shredded the veneer of cheer, dropping the characteristic smiles and “woo hoos” of the brothers Mario for the grim rictus of that one player in your group who gives up pretending that the game is “for fun” and goes for the jugular.

With Mario Kart 8 already a million seller, and with its highlight reel feature allowing uploads to YouTube, some sort of critical mass has been reached and the green plumber’s pitiless death stare has gained a life of its own online.  Check it out after the jump.

[image via: Gameinformer; h/t to Ant Man from the Gaygamer.net Facebook community]

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May 30
2014

So, Mario’s Hawking For Benz And Making Gains

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It’s no secret that Nintendo’s looking for new ways to make money and turn things around for the Wii U.  But by the looks of a new Japanese Mercedes ad, as the big N’s revenue stream has been shrinking, Mario’s been getting swole.

One of the tactics Nintendo of Japan has announced for getting more Nintendo-branded product out there is to partner up with other industry leaders to co-develop Nintendo IP.  While this has already spawned games such as Luigi’s Mansion:  Dark Moon, the fun-but-regrettably-scripted Metroid: Other M, and the upcoming Hyrule Warriors, I kind of expected all these collaborations to be…video games?

But, as it’s prone to do, Nintendo has taken a hard right turn where no one expected and is letting Mercedes use their central mascot to hawk the GLA model in Japan.  And Mercedes has given us the closest thing to a Nintendo-licenced gritty Mario Bros. reboot that the world will ever see.  Check out the guy in the video after the jump.  Not only do those blue overalls and red shirt look like they had a once-over from whoever designed the Batman uniforms from the Nolan films, but that dude looks completely jacked.

I guess hawking fine cars buys a lot of protein shakes?

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May 15
2014

Russia Rates Sims 4 Adults-Only Due To Same-Sex Relationships

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From the first installment on – way back in the year 2000 – The Sims has had a venerable history of giving players choice in how to form relationships, shrugging off the restrictive heterosexual-only mechanics that have hamstrung more recent games like Tomodachi Life.  It turns out, however, that not all parts of the real world have been progressing in the right direction either, resulting in The Sims 4, the series’ latest installment, running afoul of Russia’s infamous “gay propaganda” law.

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May 6
2014

Indie Darlings: Fist Of Awesome

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Now and again we feature indie games of note, either for their content relevant to LGBTQ* communities, or just because.  Welcome to Indie Darlings:  Fist Of Awesome Edition.

Normally I’m quite skeptical of mobile games.  My instinct is not to like them, that chances are they’re shovelware, minimum effort for maximum profit.  But in Fist Of Awesome, rather than ads everywhere I fought my way through human zoos; rather than getting kicked in the crotch by the pay-to-win business model, I pummelled bears in the face.

I gave dozens of velociraptors uppercuts. Dozens.

Fist Of Awesome goes right for the part of you that still gets a little high off sugary cereal, the part of you that wishes they’d just get one – one – of those damn Transformers movies right (not counting the 80s animated movie with Unicron; that shit is for real).  And for the most part it’s a KO – and definitely worth the $2 it’s listed for on Google Play. 

Fist Of Awesome also (SPOILERS – unless you read our previous coverage of the game) lets you make out with a dude with a handlebar moustache at the end.  As those of you who’ve tried that before know, it rocks.

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April 29
2014

Fist Of Awesome Is About A Time Travelling Bisexual Lumberjack

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Lumberjacks have long had a gay-vague quality about them.  Something about a bunch of bearded guys holed up in the wilderness spending their days handling wood.  Brawlers have too, with their long history of presenting chiseled bros fighting their way back to back through hoards of nameless bad guys.

Enter Fist Of Awesome, a brawler for handheld devices and Ouya that sees time-travelling protagonist Tim Burr punch his way through masses of badass wolves, bears, and dinosaurs.  The chance to queer the game up appealed to developer Nicholl Hunt, who told Pocket Gamer he originally intended the main character to be gay, which would be revealed by Tim Burr fighting his way to his boyfriend at the end of the game.  Said Hunt:  “Ending the game with the understanding that Tim was a ‘bear’ all along somehow seemed appropriate. … It was never intended to be a grand statement on how LGBT people are treated in games – I think it’s only really for those affected to make those kind of assertions.”

Ultimately, Hunt decided to loosen up Tim Burr’s sexuality, giving players a choice between male and female partners – though he said that upward of 70 per cent of players appear to be choosing the same-sex option. Score one for mobile gamers.

You can check out Fist Of Awesome here, and we’ll have a review for you soon.