Archive for the ‘News’ Category


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January 8
2014

Next Generation Ripley

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Like the film franchise, Alien has had an equally spotty track record in the gaming world. Actually, spottier. But the recently-announced Alien: Isolation hopes to make you forget all that… while scaring your pants off at the same time!

While Aliens: Colonial Marines was positioned as a sequel to the James Cameron action/sci-fi hit Aliens, Alien: Isolation is instead a spiritual follow-up to Ridley Scott’s classic Alien. (Note the lack of an ‘s’ in the game’s title.) Fifteen years after the events on the ill-fated Nostromo, Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, finds herself scrambling to survive as her investigation into her mother’s disappearance puts her in the middle of the terrified denizens of decommissioned trading station Sevastopol menaced by an alien creature.

Without well-armed marines at your side, you’ll need to use your wits to survive by hacking systems, scrounging for supplies and crafting your own homemade weapons. It will be up to you to decide whether to avoid, distract or face your enemies, but developer Creative Assembly promises that the Alien will respond to your actions dynamically, so choose carefully.

“In Alien: Isolation, we have taken the series back to the roots of Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie, the original survival horror,” said Alistair Hope, Creative Lead. “Our Alien is a truly terrifying creature, as intelligent as he is hostile, relentless, brutal and unstoppable. This is the Alien game fans of the series have always wanted.”

It gives my gay geek heart palpitations to see the Nostromo again (even if a little fanwanking will be required to fit this into the movie continuity), and the idea of exploring it fills me with such glee I can’t even express. Especially since this is aiming to be a terrifying survival horror game instead of an action shoot-em-up. So I guess it also fills me with a little bit of dread… but the fun dread! And it’s  great to see that Amanda Ripley is carrying on her mother’s tradition of being a female badass survivor. Games need more strong female leads (even if it does appear she’ll have to grow into her strength as the game goes on). After the jump you’ll find a gallery of screenshots and a trailer as well as a behind the scenes look at Creative Assembly’s process. My fingers were crossed for this game and now that I’ve seen some of it, I’m actually cautiously optimistic Alien: Isolation could be awesome when it releases in late 2014 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Make the jump and see how you feel!
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December 24
2013

At Long Last, Alan Turing Pardoned For Being Gay

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A little over a year ago, we celebrated the 100th birthday of Alan Turing – the queer math genius without whom we wouldn’t have computers or artificial intelligence (so, you know, no video games), and without whom the world might have been overrun by Nazis.  A man worth lauding.

Infamously, the government of the United Kingdom convicted him of gross indecency and punished him with chemical castration for daring to admit to the authorities he had sex with a man.  Again, were it not for Mr. Turing, the government of the United Kingdom may very well not have existed any more when he was prosecuted.

Two years after the implementation of his sentence, Turing killed himself.

Until recently, that very same government refused to grant Mr. Turing a pardon, as well as to the 49 000 other people – including Oscar Wilde – who were convicted of the same “crime.”  This is despite an apology from then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown with an acknowledgement of the government’s “inhumane” treatment of Turing under a “homophobic law.” But now, Mr. Turing is being granted a royal pardon by Queen Elizabeth – announced on Tuesday by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, and effective immediately.

Follow the link for more.

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December 20
2013

PAX “Diversity Lounges”

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Back in November, I suggested the word ‘xbroglio as a catch-all term for the many-and-various ways that Microsoft have messed up with regards to creating and marketing the Xbox One. This week, thanks to a leaked (and now, officially confirmed) document regarding the addition of “Diversity Lounges” to future Penny Arcade eXpo (PAX) events – ostensibly areas for people interested in games and social consciousness, but which comes across as the Designated Diversity Zone of PAX – I’m forced to think of new nomenclature for Penny-Arcade related mishaps.

The best I’ve got thus far is “PAXccident”, although I’m willing to bet there’s a better one out there; hit me up if you got one!

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According to the document – which was originally posted up on IndieStatik – the “Roll for Diversity Hub and Lounge” will be a fixture within the PAX convention itself, dedicated to providing a space where attendees can “find out about all the different diversity related things happening in and around PAX”, “learn about diversity in the gaming industry”, “learn about diversity in general”, and “learn about geek businesses that cater to diverse communities”. On paper, this sounds like a great idea – a dedicated zone inside one of the biggest games conventions in the world, where folk interested in social awareness in games can find like-minded folk, listen to panels and speakers on subjects relevant to them, and check out games that cater specifically to them. Indeed, with some reading-between-the-lines (and divorced of additional context), this seems to be what the folks at Penny Arcade intended all along.

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December 18
2013

Nintendo Direct Brings Some Surprises

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This morning Nintendo released their latest Nintendo Direct video, this time focusing on upcoming 3DS and Wii U releases for 2014.

The video begins with quite the unexpected surprise, the tentatively titled Hyrule Warriors. This collaboration with Tecmo Koei brings together the hack and slash fun of Dynasty Warriors with the world of Zelda. Link slashes his way through hordes of enemies, and one can only hope that the likes of Zelda, Ganon, and perhaps even Tingle will get their playable day in the sun. After all Dynasty Warriors are known for their expansive casts.

Satoru Iwata is sure to point out that this is not a new entry in the main Zelda franchise, meaning the long awaited Wii U Zelda title is still awaiting a proper reveal.

The video’s surprises don’t end there, though.


With a new Chibi-Robo coming to the Nintendo 3DS e-shop, Nintendo-crossover DLC levels (for free!) in Sonic Lost World, Cranky Kong coming to Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and one more Luigi-themed title to end the Year of Luigi (Dr. Luigi), all on top of new and already announced titles, Nintendo has plenty to make this Nintendo Direct one worth trending.

But then they go and drop one final surprise: The first new playable character to come to join the cast of Super Smash Bros. in 2014.

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2013

The Dead Walk Again This Week!

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Now we see if Telltale Games will fall into a sophomore slump… That’s right, The Walking Dead: Season Two has begun! Episode One: All That Remains is releasing this week on all the various platforms.

The first episode of season two is available now for $4.99 (as will be the subsequent episodes unless you opt for the season pass discount) on Steam (worldwide), the PlayStation Network for PlayStation 3 (US only) and Xbox LIVE for the Xbox 360 (worldwide). It will also be released worldwide for iOS at some point this week, and is “coming soon” to the PS3 in Europe. (Sorry!)

Obviously at this point, a release schedule for the following four episodes of Season Two aren’t known, but I feel like the wait between episodes of Season One wasn’t too bad! I’m just bracing myself for something absolutely horrible to happen to Clementine… I worry she won’t make it through this season!

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December 12
2013

Wham! The Last SingStore Update Of The Year!

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Well, the final SingStore Update of 2013 is quite massive, although that’s because they’ve created eight new song packs, but those are songs that were already released, so I don’t see the point of bundling them up because if you wanted those songs you would’ve already bought them, right? Unless some of the songs in the pack are new, but looking at them, I don’t see anything that jumps out at me. I’m not posting the entire list here, but if you’re curious, you can click here to see the full rundown.

No, the important thing is what’s brand new to belt out in SingStar, and this update is pretty solid:

“What The Hell” by Avril Lavigne
“I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” by Britney Spears
“Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” by Coldplay
“Last Thing On My Mind” by Steps
“Wake Up Boo!” by The Boo Radleys
“Last Christmas” by Wham!

I appreciate more Britney, but not that song. And it’s the perfect time to be singing the completely banal but catchy “Last Christmas.” (Made awesomer by the hilarious video where George Michael goes on a ski trip with a bunch of friends and pretends to flirt with a woman other than the one he arrived with!) But for my money, the best part of this update is another Steps song! They’re the modern ABBA, don’t you know!

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December 11
2013

The 3DS Enters The Miiverse

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The system update has been released for the Nintendo 3DS that adds Miiverse functionality to the handheld system, mirroring what Wii U users have been enjoying since the console’s launch. And if you’ve got both systems, you can link the same Nintendo ID and merge your Nintendo eShop balances and Wish Lists. (Now all we’ve got to do is convince Nintendo to release some eShop games as 3DS/Wii U cross-buys…)

Another feature of this update allows 3DS users to transfer their content to different systems an unlimited number of times instead of the previous limit of five transfers. Of course, you’ll only be able to transfer once every seven days, but seeing as how Nintendo keeps releasing more awesome 3DS designs, it’s nice to have the option to upgrade as many times as you want. Not sure I’d buy five 3DSes, but it’s nice not to have an arbitrary limit anymore.

The full Miiverse experience requires an online connection, but being that the 3DS is a portable system and isn’t always going to be connected, Nintendo has allowed you to make up to three Miiverse posts while offline and then queue them up to post once you are able to connect to the internet. It’s not automatic, though. You still have to open Miiverse and manually post them. Hopefully in the future updates, they’ll make it so they just automatically SpotPass their way onto the appropriate Miiverse thread. Also, while you can choose to attach a screenshot from either the top or the bottom screen just like on the Wii U (pressing the Home button pauses the game and those are the screens you’ll choose from), unfortunately, it doesn’t work with any photos you’ve already saved to your photo album. Presumably to keep people from posting inappropriate 3D pictures. But for games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, where taking screenshots is part of gameplay, don’t think you’ll be able to post older photos. On the other hand, it’s nice to have the ability to snap screenshots of games where it’s not a built-in feature!