Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category


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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 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

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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April 8
2014

GoT: Equal Opportunity Nudity

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This is in response to the Season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones. No worries. It’ll be quick. And I don’t intend on spoiling anything…much. But in fact, yes, SPOILER ALERT!

I didn’t read the books, so sue me. I hadn’t even heard of Game of Thrones until HBO’s publicity team was hyping the show months before it premiered in 2011. I knew I would love it even before I watched the pilot, and continue to love it I do. I still haven’t picked up the books, only because I fiercely enjoy fearing for each character’s life in my own masochistic fashion. I clutch at my direwolf plushie or a friend’s knees while silently shouting crap like run Sansa, no run! Like for real, just RUN! RUN SANSA RUN!!!

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April 7
2014

Brendan Eich, Prop 8 and the Men Who Love Them

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Brendan Eich, co-founder and former Chief Technology Officer of Mozilla, resigned from his position of CEO on April 3. This followed a heated battle which launched calls for his ouster from Mozilla community members, employees, and OkCupid. This whole kerfuffle reopens an almost six year-old discussion regarding “Prop 8.” The 2008 initiative was an amendment to the California constitution which effectively banned same sex marriage in the state. Prop 8 was passed 52% to 48%. Yet, the Los Angeles Times places Prop 8 as the state’s “costliest initiative to date.” Eich’s contribution of $1000 is only a drop in the bucket compared to the overall $83 million raised. So who are the rest of the voters contributing to that total amount?  Are there any others involved in geeky things, like Eich? Thankfully, LA Times provides a nifty little search bar to sort through all of the dirty laundry. Here are just some of the contributors that gamers, moviegoers, and all-around geeks may want to know about.

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March 27
2014

Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus: Yes, but are they sexy?

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Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 and Project Morpheus, impressive devices for an emerging medium, but would you wear them?
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Long before Buddy Cole went undercover as a Canadian on the Colbert Report, he delivered sermons from an eponymous gay bar. Portrayed by Scott Thompson on The Kids In The Hall over 20 years ago, Buddy purred and mused over how virtual reality would be integrated in our lives. VR to him had very much the same effect as sitting too close to the television. “But then,” Buddy cautioned us, “there’s no hat.” He smiled and stroked a black and silver sequined helmet with a matching glove.

Flash-forward to this past week and the newfound competition between Sony and Oculus VR, we now have a glimpse of the future of gaming (and a whole lot of other stuff, too). Both Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus are headsets sans the traditional haptic gloves of the VR pioneer Jaron Lanier days. Both promise content in an emerging medium that’s 30 years in the making. But, would you be caught dead in them?

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March 26
2014

Where do Video Games Stand? BioWare’s Manveer Heir on Misogyny, Racism, and Homophobia

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If there was an award for GDC MVP I would without hesitation hand the 2014 honor to BioWare Montreal Gameplay Designer, Manveer Heir. While this year’s Game Developer’s Conference had plenty to talk about, from indie darling Papers, Please dominating the IGF Awards to Sony’s big VR news, it was Heir’s panel that had everyone buzzing. Titled Misogyny, Racism and Homophobia: Where Do Video Games Stand? the hour-long talk featured Heir breaking down the big ol’ representation problem our beloved industry has. Ending with a passionate plea for all in attendance to be ‘soldiers’ in this battle for diversity, Heir was met with a well deserved standing ovation.

After the talk I had the pleasure to speak with Manveer Heir about his presentation and what he thinks we can do enact change in an industry that desperately needs it.

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