Articles by Fruit Brute
Forum Name: oktomat
Location: Portland effin' Oregon!
Gay, Straight or Bi: Gay
Relationship Status: Single. Bring on the gamer bears!
Consoles you own: Dreamcast, Wii, PS2, Xbox360, DS... There's more but those are the ones I use currently.
Who could have known when Toots and I first conceived of GayGamer.net in the wake of Hurricane Katrina four years ago that it would still be going strong today. Not me certainly! What started out as a way to communicate with friends who had been separated by a natural disaster has grown into a a solid video game blog respected and recognized by people in and out of the game industry.
I am often asked "Why does there need to be a gay gaming site?" I have answered this question more times than I can count, but I think the answer lies within the readers of GayGamer. Everyone comes here for a different reason: some to read game news, some for the forums and still others come for the camaraderie and safety of discussing games with people of a like mind. I have received letters from people all over the world expressing their happiness in finding the site and how glad they are to feel represented within the gaming world. I've even gotten emails from people in parts of the world where being gay is illegal and GayGamer is one of their only windows into gay society. And of course there are the tales from couples who have met via our forums or through comments on the website. These messages hold a special place in my heart and I think all of them express exactly WHY there needs to be a gay gaming site.
Last week we were hit by a hacker who managed to blow away over a years worth of images and podcasts and other media. On top of that, due to a snafu with backups, we lost all of the work we had been putting into our site redesign that was meant to launch today, on our anniversary. At a certain point I really thought it might mean the end of the website altogether. I seriously weighed out whether I thought it was a good thing to keep going or just shutter the whole project. But then I thought back to those emails I mentioned and read the comments on the article about the hacking and realized that I wasn't going to let someone with a lot of hate in their heart get away with shutting us down. If we shut down, the hacker wins and we've worked too long and hard on this project to let it go that easily.
So on this day of anniversary, I look back on what has proceeded, and I am happy. We have done a lot in the last four years, not the least of which has been to raise awareness and visibility of the LGBT community within the hetero male dominated game industry. It's an ongoing battle that is still being fought and I am proud that GayGamer has been on the forefront of the battlefield, raising our flag high.
As I do every year I would like to thank Mikey and Tiny Dancer, two of the people I could not live without on a daily basis. We've been through the ups and downs and still remain a strong team. I would also like to thank all of our writers past and present for all the work and love they have poured into the site over the years. And last but certainly not least, I would like to thank all of our readers, forum members and supporters. We would be nothing without you and it is you that we do this for.
Flynn "Fruit Brute" De Marco
Editor in Chief
You might have noticed that things are a little strange around here and in the forums. As most of you probably know, we were hacked a few days ago and Mikey has been working hard to get things back in order. We were hit pretty hard and it will probably be a little while before things are completely back to normal.
One for the big things that happened is about a fourteen months worth of images have been destroyed as well as the podcasts from that time period. A years worth of images is a hefty loss and the podcast loss was devastating. Fortunately, through the kindness of our many fans, we've almost gotten all of the recordings back where they belong.
The forums were hit as well and we are doing our best to get them back in order. We appreciate everyones patience while we try and restore as much as we possibly can. We don't really have a time frame as to when everything will be back to normal as Mikey is really having to handle most of this single handedly.
This is the second time we've been hacked and although the first time was clearly a hate inspired hit, this time around we believe it was just random. Someone with nothing better to do that to try and destroy someone else's hard work. It's sad that there are people like that in the world, but they are not going to stop us. They didn't stop us the first time and they sure as hell aren't going to stop us just days before we celebrate our four year anniversary.
Thank you all so much for supporting us through the ups and downs of the last four years. We consider this just another stumbling block along the way. It might be a larger block than we've stumbled over before, but nothing that will keep us from providing a space for gamers of all kinds to visit and feel safe.
Fruit Brute, Mikey, Tiny Dancer and the Staff at GayGamer.net
The GayGamer.net Podcast Episode #54 is here! Join Fruit Brute and Tiny Dancer as we present the first of a two part episode about E3. This time around we dissect the press conferences of the Big 3: Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft. Then we go on to discuss in detail the new hardware the introduced including the Sony Move and 3D, Microsoft's Kinect and the Nintendo 3DS.
We're always looking for reader questions to answer on the show so if you have a query for the crew that you'd like answered or would just like to suggest a topic for discussion, send it here with the subject line "Podcast Question."
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Things seen at E3 can sometimes be difficult to write about, especially new innovations. There is so much going on and vying for your attention and sometimes you are seeing multiple games in one place. Now that I have had a few days to digest everything I saw at E3, I feel like I can do this article justice.
When I signed up for my Microsoft booth tour, it was still being referred to as the "Natal Pods." Of course, by the time I got to the appointment, we had been informed that Natal would now be called Kinect. The pods part referred to the fact that were were in what amounted to a giant fishbowl so everyone walking by could watch us flailing about. I got over my initial embarrassment at this and decided to dance like no one was watching.
The first pod took us to Kinect Adventures. My appointment partner and I had to work together to control a raft going down a rushing river. Leaning our bodies to the right or left would steer the raft in the appropriate direction. Going over ramps, we would jump, giving our raft some air. All the while we were going down the river, various collectable coins appeared and we'd steer towards them to collect them. The Kinect controls worked well here and were very responsive.
Then we moved on to Kinectimals. This was a "game" I had heard a bit about from other journalists and seen demoed a little at the Natal event two nights before. I didn't really have high hopes for yet another pet simulator, but I was pleasantly surprised. Kinecimals was quite charming and the little baby tiger (other types will be available) responded very well to my different poses and commands. He even responded to his name which was adorable. I think this will be a game more suited to kids, but it was definitely fun to experiment with.
Next up was Kinect Sports and a little bit of bowling. I was particularly interested to check this one out to see how it compared to the Wii Sports version, which I am rather fond of. I have to say I was quite impressed and I liked the fact that I didn't have to think about holding down or letting go of any buttons. Of course it helped that I bowled 4 strikes in a row, something I could never do in real life. My appointment mate wasn't so lucky, so at least I knew my strikes weren't some sort of computer set up. The Kinect controls worked exceptionally well here and I'm interested to see what the other games will play like.
Forum name: Winston
Location: Nicaragua, Columbia
Gay, Straight or Bi: Gay and proud, of course :)
Relationship Status: Open relationship
Consoles/handhelds you own: Xbox360, Wii, PS2 slim, PSP (x2 units)
The original Portal was one of those touchstone games that only comes once in a great while. A perfect combination of humor, mind twisting gameplay, memorable characters and an perfect ending that left you wanting more. A game that crossed genres to reach many different types of gamers. Could lighting strike twice in the same place? If what I saw demoed at E3 is any indication, Portal 2 has every chance of being just as popular as the first, if not more so.
Portal 2 takes place "years" after the ending of the original game. GLaDOS is dead and Chell has been put in stasis, finally awakening into the wreckage Aperture Science labs. She meets up with Wheatley, a Personality Core robot (those little eyeball like fellows you incinerated in the first game) who leads her through the rubble and both discover that GLaDOS is not dead after all. She really is still alive (as the hit song implies). Since the only way GLaDOS knows how to relate to Chell is through testing her, GLaDOS rebuilds the decaying labs and once again Chell must figure out how to make it through using the infamous Portal guns.
This time however, some new items have been added to change the experience. In the short demo we saw, several of these were shown. First there was the tractor beam like tunnel (Pneumatic Diversity Vent) that could be manipulated to suck unsuspecting turrets through walls or eject Chell to otherwise inaccessible places. There were also two types of "paint" that added different effects. Orange (Propulsion Gel) would make the player move faster while the blue paint (Repulsion Gel) provided bounce patches. Aerial Faith Plates can be used to eject objects and Redirection Cubes that can be used like mirrors to direct Thermal Discouragement Beams (deadly lasers) away from the player and on to enemies. A two player co-op mode will also be included, ensuring even more difficult puzzles to warp your fragile little mind.
In the short time we got to see the game there were many "laugh out loud" moments, proving that the writing is as sharp and clever as the first. The gathered crowd greeted the showing enthusiastically as if seeing a long lost Weighted Companion Cube for the first time in years. GLaDOS has us right where she wants us.
Portal 2 will launch in 2011 for Xbox 360, PS3, Mac and PC.
I will not mince words here. Epic Mickey is one of the best things, if not THE best thing I have seen thus far at E3. When the title was first announced a while back, many people were skeptical. The name sounded a little grand and the theme seemed rather dark for the world's favorite mouse. But Warren Spector, quite the Disney-phile himself, has done a spectacular job in creating what looks to be one of the most wonderfully fun and artistic games this year.
Epic Mickey's storyline is a little complicated but here it is in a nutshell. Mickey finds himself transported to an alternate world called the Cartoon Wasteland which is made up of tons of forgotten properties and characters from Disney's 80 year history . The whole place is lorded over by the Phantom Blot who seized control from Mickey's long forgotten half-brother, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Using a combination of paint and paint thinner, Mickey must save the wasteland from the Blots and simultaneously regain Oswald's trust.
While this all may sound a bit juvenile, the game is anything but. Part platformer, part action game, Epic Mickey explores parts of Disney history that many people outside of hardcore Disney-ites have forgotten about. The atmosphere is decidedly dark and Mickey himself can either be a Scrapper or a Savior depending on how you play the game.
Your main weapons are paint and paint thinner. Paint can change the way things look, making the atmosphere brighter and adding landscape elements, while thinner can erase things all together or reveal hidden items. The choices you make in the way you use these items can affect everything from NPC reactions to you to the final outcome of the game. The art style of the game is stunning and evokes many Disney films old and new. Especially amazing were some 2D cutscenes done in the style of the old Disney Little Golden Books and concept art. A beautiful watercolor sponged effect that you can see in action in the gallery below.
Warren Spector has mined deep into the Disney archives to pull out some amazing things, not the least of which are the in between level films that are actually 2D platforming levels based on old Mickey Mouse cartoons such as Steamboat Willie. These levels are among some of the cleverest of the game. Look for obscure characters and even Disney theme park areas in the game as you play. It promises to be a treasure trove for those paying close attention.
Once released, Epic Mickey is going to be incredible game that will pull in an adult audience as well as kids. Given the game's Wii exclusivity, the game will be sure to find a large chunk of it's target audience. No release date has been set yet, but you can be sure we'll be waiting with bated breath until we hear. And when we hear, you'll be the first to know. Well, besides us that is.
Fans of Fallout 3 will soon once again be trudging the nuclear annihilated wasteland, but this time in an entirely different part of the country. Vegas to be exact, if you couldn't tell from the title. Through a stroke of luck, Vegas remains largely untouched and seems to have escaped most of the bombings. Sin City is still in full swing offering betting, prostitutes and plenty of booze. and the whole shebang is being protected by a new brand of military police, unseen in Fallout 3.
Along with the basic Fallout gameplay you've grown to love (VATS included) there are a slew of new features to sweeten the pot. For those of you who like to rely on your own shooting skills rather than VATS, new iron sights have been added to most weapons making it a bit easier to aim. And there are plenty of weapons to choose from; at least double of the previous game. You can also now mod your weapons by adding sights and various other accoutrements.
Another nice addition is the rep system. Based on how you behave towards certain groups in the game, the will either like you or hate you. Some factions will be able to be sweet talked in to helping under the right circumstances. But cross them and you will find yourself in a world of hurt and ostracized, making it impossible to complete certain missions
My favorite new feature however, is the hardcore mode. If you find the game a bit to easy for a seasoned campaigner like yourself, simply turn on this mode and things will be made much harder for you. Ammo will now add to the weight you carry. Food and drink are required to stay alive and you must be sure to get enough sleep every night. This lends the gameplay a much more realistic feel.
Fallout: New Vegas hits the ground running when it launches for Xbox 360 on October 19.
Choice and consequence. These are the hallmarks of the Fable franchise and is one of the reasons I enjoy the series so much. One of my first E3 appointments was a chance to see Fable 3 demoed for me by the inimitable Peter Molyneux and once again, choice and consequence play a huge part in the player experience Yet, Fable 3 takes the concept of the original two games and expands on it, creating an entirely different experience entirely for the player.
Fable 3 brings you back to Albion and once again you are "The Hero," but this time, instead of straight up adventuring, you will work to become the king of Albion and then rule it. If you are fortunate enough to have a Fable 2 saved game on your hard drive, your hero will be the son or daughter of the hero you played in that game. Parts of the story and game will also be influenced by the final decision you made at the end of 2.
For the first half of the game, your main focus will be to gather enough followers to eventually overthrow the evil Logan who rules Albion with an iron fist, turning the once beautiful land into a miserable, industrial wasteland. Logan also happens to be your brother.
What Lionhead has done here is taken the gestures and of the original games and given them purpose and meaning. These gestures, good or bad, will have en effect on the way people react to you and whether or not they want to follow you and join in your revolution. Followers can be gained by threats and manipulation or by kindness. Marrying into society can gain you followers while pushing children down in the street can cause people to not like you so much. Threatening people can also bring you followers albeit more out of fear than of love.
Once the kingdom is under your control, the second half of the game becomes all about ruling your kingdom. How you decide to rule is your choice but don't forget all the little people who helped you along the way. Remember that promise you made to that farmer to give him a tract of land if you become king? Well he didn't and eventually he'l be back to claim his stake. Are you going to make good on that promise, or leave him to his fate? Whichever you choose will have a bearing on how your subjects perceive you, so rule carefully.
One question that has been on many minds around this site is the inclusion of same sex marriages. The answer is yes, same sex marriages will still be in place and you can rule your land as King and King or Queen and Queen if you so choose. You will also be able to adopt children from the local orphanage, but be careful: get a divorce and the little ankle biters may end up back in the orphanage. In a little twist on Fable 2, you can once again invite other players into your Fable world, but this time you can actually marry them (and have babies with them as well)! And in a much needed mechanic, the multiplayer aspect will be played via a split screen so both players may explore the world as they choose.
One of the main improvements of the game is a complete overhaul of the menu system, what Peter called "The worst 2D GUI ever made." When pressing the pause button you are no longer taken to an endless number of lists and words. Now, everything is visual and action based. Pausing will take you to your sanctuary occupied by your butler, voiced by John Cleese. All clothing and the various weapons are now chosen from a room full of statues, each bearing a different item. You can mix and match parts if you choose, but no more running through lists and cards. This is undoubtedly a huge improvement and one that needed to happen long ago. From here you will also be able to access an updated and much easier to navigate map system that will allow you to find your family and other towns much easier.
Weapons in the game have changed as well. Upon picking up a new weapon, it automatically begins morphing itself to your fighting style. Once you have used a weapon for a while you can feel free to sell or trade it to someone online and then perhaps buy it back again later once it is imbued with all the things someone else has put into it. It sounds a little confusing and I'm not exactly sure how the weapon will change other than visually, but it is an interesting concept that I am anxious to see in action.
Another exciting feature is the ability to pull off multiple weapon attacks by using button combinations. Fable has always prided itself on the one button attack system, but this addition is most welcome. Similarly, you can now dual wield your magical powers via gauntlets worn by your player. As in Bioshock, you can actually combine your magic abilities for a real one two punch. Is that whirlwind not quite doing the trick? Add some fire to it and you'll be sure to send the enemy running.
Fable 3 looks to be much improved in gameplay as well as graphically over Fable 2 and it's good to see Lionhead thinking beyond the scope of solid adventuring. Don't worry, there will still be plenty of questing involved, but the chance to rule an entire king and all that entails is quite intriguing and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out when it launches on October 26, 2010.
Hello dear readers! Wootini, Tiny, GameBoy and I are here at the Nintendo Press conference! Keep up with the antics LIVE through our Twitter feed in the right sidebar and look for Wootini's full coverage to follow later today! Enjoy.
We'll be streaming the Xbox Press Conference LIVE at 10:30am PST. Make the jump to watch the stream!
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