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June 20
2014

Wootini’s Weekly Animal Crossing Diary

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Dear Diary,

It was a nice, peaceful week in Geneva. No big drama… but also no real excitement, either. But I did keep two favorites from moving away… and we’ve finally got a new neighbor moving in! It took some doing, but it’s going to be worth it! I can tell! Read on to see what I mean!

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June 20
2014

E3 2014: Ubisoft and the Lack of Lady Assassins

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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

SF Gaymers! Don’t Miss Streetpass Saturdays @The Stud

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GaymerX2 is fast approaching but if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and can’t wait for a big gaymer meet up then you won’t want to miss the inaugural StreetPass Saturday, this Saturday at The Stud. GayGamer.net and GaymerX have teamed up to bring you a night of gaming, gogo gaymers, and more street passes than your 3DS can handle.

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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 19
2014

E3 2014: Sonic Boom, Sega Reinvents Sonic…Again

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Sega has had a…rough time with Sonic. After Sonic Generations, which looked and played great, they gave us Sonic: Lost World, which didn’t. Now, they have decided to go big and try for a 4-prong attempt at making Sonic relevant again: Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for the 3DS and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric for the Wii U which both act as a prequel to a Sonic Boom CGI cartoon series, all capped off with a large toy line. Sonic Boom also introduces new character Sticks the Badger, but I only saw her as playable in the 3DS game.

I got to play both versions of Sonic Boom at E3 and I really enjoyed one of them.

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June 19
2014

E3 2014: Tales of Xillia 2 Expands Its Horizons

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Aside from Super Smash Bros, I’m a big fan of JRPGs and Tales of Xilla was definitely one of my favorite games of 2013. I had the chance to sit down with the folks over at Namco Bandai to get a good look at what to expect in the upcoming sequel.

SPOILER WARNING: Skip the following paragraph to avoid potential spoilers for those that have yet to play Tales of Xillia 1.

Tales of Xillia 2 takes place a year after the events of the first game. At the end of that title, the two culturally different worlds of Rieze Maxia and Elympios were connected by the destruction of a barrier that once separated them. The two worlds, now intertwined, are facing a number of issues due to their various cultural differences. Rieze Maxia is a world that relies on spirit, arts, and nature while Elympios is a technologically advanced world that relies on spirit-harming devices called spyrix. The original game’s cast of characters are all present and accounted for as they live their lives and fight for peace between the two worlds.

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June 18
2014

E3 2014: Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, Farming Made Modern

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I’ve been a long time Harvest Moon fan ever since I first got my hands on the original SNES title in ’97. Back then this was by far the most unique gaming experience around. Who would ever think that farming would make for an interesting gameplay mechanic, let alone a fun one? And yet there I was harvesting crops, raising livestock, and building a house for my family to live in….all now features of modern hit titles like Animal Crossing. I could even get married; just a neat bonus feature I thought at the time, but little did I know how important a topic virtual nuptials would be for all of gaming years later.

While the series may get flack in some circles it can’t be denied that the original Harvest Moon introduced a number of innovative new ideas to gaming that have since become modern mainstays. In its numerous iterations since, however, the innovation seemed to have halted; the old saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ couldn’t be more applicable. While still fun, the Moon-mechanics really haven’t changed all that much since the late 90s.

The newest entry in the series Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, the first to be fully developed and produced by Natsume (who previously have localized all entries), seeks to buck this trend and bring back some of the innovation that made the original game stand out, while holding on to all the things that fans love.

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