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March 28
2014

Wootini’s Weekly Animal Crossing Diary

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Dear Diary,

Finally a quiet week with no major drama. Oh, I mean, that’s not to say that nobody tried moving or anything. Because they always do. I also got another weird letter from my mom that read: “Dear Chris, I’ve been focusing on my posture and trying to look more elegant. But your dad makes silly faces, and I get the giggles. Eat healthy snacks! – Mom” And she included an orange, which is quite healthy. But I don’t know what eating healthy has to do with elegant posture. Or my dad thwarting mom’s efforts to be elegant.

But it was a nice and sedate week with no big events so I was finally able to clean up the town a bit. I’ve been neglecting my mayoral duties for too long, now. Read on and I’ll explain.

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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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March 25
2014

“Sex, Lies, and Dragons” Game of Thrones Season 4 Premiere Review

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HBO’s insanely popular medieval-fantasy series Game of Thrones returns with a perplexing and deliciously macabre new episode, which sets a spirited but bleak tone for the upcoming fourth season.

Spoilers ahead for the season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones.

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March 24
2014

Pro-Tip: Progressive Advocacy in the Games Industry is DIY

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You read about something. You get mad about it. Then, you are doused with a heavy cold shower of, “why complain now? We’ve been doing this shit for years!”

Turn now to the blog of Melissa Bennett, M.Div. In a recent entry, she posts her correspondence with Gary Lin, CEO of glispa GmbH. Mr. Lin’s company is a “performance marketing platform” with clients such as: Nexon Europe, InnoGames, Kongregate, Gaijin Entertainment, Hasbro, Wargaming.net, Konami, Warner Home Video, Toys R Us, Kabam, DeNA, Sega, Riot Games, and more. The issue at first glance is a culturally insensitive display at GDC, which leads to a deeper discussion of appropriation throughout the culture of glispa itself.

Bennett identifies deeply with the diverse range of Native American cultures her family represents. So, a fire to write is rekindled in her when she spots a Facebook post from her friend, Elizabeth LaPensée. LaPensée is an industry professional whose “work addresses Indigenous determination in video games, animation, and web comics.” In the Facebook post, we see a picture of the glispa booth at GDC with a tipi. In front are two attractive women striking a pose in traditional Halloween buckskin attire. They’re all smiles, and why shouldn’t they be? The multicultural team of glispa represents 33 different countries and 23 different languages. Despite the fact that none of the corporate offices listed on the company’s website are actually in the United States, you’re welcome to call, email or send a “smoke signal” their way.

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March 24
2014

Preview: Infinite Crisis

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Pulling on my heart strings, Warner Brothers attempts to drag me into their new Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), Infinite Crisis. For me, the thought of getting to play some of my favorite super heroes and villains from my childhood was going to be awesome. The nostalgia was running through my veins as I patiently waited for the game to download. The game has a great selection of characters from DC Comics’ epic history and multiple universes. From a demonic Batman to the New 52 Wonder Woman all of my favorite characters are there for me to play, each with a really unique skill set.

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March 24
2014

Wootini’s Weekly Video Podcast #165

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So… my attempts to finish up the games I’m currently playing hit a bit of a snag this past week as Nintendo invited me to be part of the early review program for Disney Magical World on the 3DS. I guess since they know how much I love Animal Crossing, they thought I might be interested in a game where you run around and have adventures with Disney characters while dressing up and running a café. Make the jump to watch this week’s vidcast and see if they were right!

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