Sep 282014
 

We have hit a critical period in the online gaming community, which happens to overlap with a similar discussion going on within the internet community and even the world at large. That conversation is about the rights of female gamers and members of online communities to feel safe and comfortable with their fellow gamers. We have increasingly seen “battle lines” drawn, with videos such as the ones by Anita Sarkeesian calling for equal rights to be then viciously attacked online; with female celebrities accounts broken into and nude photos released; and finally with the Emma Watson United Nations address last week calling for men and women to stand up for equality. There has been no better time to examine where we are and where we would like to see our community go. There is a vocal minority of men online who are fighting these changes, and who are feeling attacked in turn, and we need to understand that we are in this together, regardless of sex, and together we can improve and grow this hobby.

The fact of the matter is, roughly half of all gamers and internet users are women (surprise, right?). For so long gaming has been seen as a male-dominated hobby, and maybe in it’s infancy it was, but the facts no longer support a male-dominated scene. In spite of this, many if not most female gamers have given voice to many sexist practices and deep-seated biases still visibly present. This is seen in real life as well, but most acutely from the gaming sector. The anonymity of the internet and most online lobbies creates an atmosphere where it is easy to look down upon, be dismissive, or even angry at, a perceived minority. I think that it is likely a majority of male gamers have witnessed this happening, and would be willing to admit it is a problem and would like to see change, but don’t know what to do or even think it’s being “overblown”. There is also a very vocal group of male gamers who fight against calls for equality, saying it is merely feminist attacks on men, and tend to become increasingly hostile with any and all recommendations for change.

Of course some of what we hear is extreme, from both sides. What should be very clear however, is a majority of female gamers have seen or experienced this sort of behavior, some many times over. I know that I have heard accounts from friends of treatment they have received, or how a specific games portrayal of a female character was poor or even insulting. This is often exacerbated by long-standing sexist practices women start seeing from childhood. Drawing lines in the sand and pointing fingers is simply causing each to grow farther and farther apart. We have to be able to take these accounts seriously, and have to be willing to see what we can do to help fix them. All this takes is respect and understanding, accepting that there could be a problem and be willing to listen to alternatives, and standing up to those who are creating the problems. This can lead to more inclusive, and realistic, gaming experiences and communities, which is in everyone’s interests.

Of course this is all coming at a crucial transitional period for male gamers as well. Our generation has started questioning what traditional ideas of masculinity and “maleness” actually are. Gaming is central to this discussion, as it is only recently becoming more accepted that gaming is a healthy and fulfilling hobby for adults as well as children, while many still scoff at such an idea and look down upon our hobby. With all the changes men are facing, it can be extremely easy to be dismissive when viewing problems faced by women, as we are already defensive about gaming in general. Just remember, we are all facing problems and overcoming hurdles, and we can get through them faster by helping one another with our problems. Gamers have more in common with other gamers, male or female, and we have to understand that fighting amongst ourselves only weakens our position to the “traditional” world view. Gaming moves incredibly fast, and it’s time we agree that there is no place for hatred, bigotry, sexism, racism, or any other -ism in such an important aspect of our lives. For gaming to grow and gain mainstream acceptance, we have to fight against these ideas and fight for equality, for every gamer and every person.

I know for many of you this will be preaching to the choir. For the others, who will be apt to say that I have been “taken in” or am overblowing the issues, please reconsider the accounts of your friends and family, and examine your own behaviour. We can only move forward by admitting that we may have to change and accept other groups, no matter how hard that may seem to be. If men and women together can fight for equality and understand one anothers troubles and differences, we can create a lasting community that is filled with realistic and relatable characters, and maybe learn something about ourselves in the process.

 

Sep 272014
 
HFS

“…if not now, then when?”, asked Emma Watson, in a speech she gave at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City last Saturday. Surely, the quote is one that many of us have heard in our lives, one that is meant to foster courage in the face of fear and uncertainty, to prompt a feeling of personal responsibility when presented with an imposing task. Watson, the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, introduced the quote near the end of her speech, when she admitted that she had been quite nervous prior to her speech.

And why shouldn’t she be nervous? As a graduate of an International Relations program, the prospect of giving a speech at the UN is simultaneously exciting and incredibly intimidating one. But, in such a situation, my nervousness would stem only from the pressure I placed on myself, whereas Watson was likely nervous for additional, more serious reasons. She was introducing a UN campaign called HeForShe - “A Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality,” and if you have already read Mystie’s and/or Cassi’s posts on TLo42, or, really, if you have been following the news at all for the past few weeks, then you know that it is a frightening time for women. Hackers recently stole and released personal, nude photos of several prominent female celebrities; Anita Sarkeesian was forced from her home after receiving death threats for, well, doing nothing wrong at all (I refuse to craft a sentence that even begins to describe a “rationale” for these threats); several of Sarkeesian’s supporters have been similarly targeted. And, of course, this does not even include the sexual abuse and discrimination women continue to experience on a daily basis. Plain and simple, women are, at the very least, not afforded the same opportunities as men anywhere in the world. At worst, they are explicitly denied basic human rights. Sadly, as Watson noted in her speech, “No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality.” Indeed, Watson’s deeds did not go unpunished. She, too, was threatened with a leak of personal nude photos (and, no, the fact that the stunt may have been fake does not diminish the meaning of the underlying threat).

This reality is why another quote Emma Watson used in her speech is so important to me: “Statesman Edmund Burke said all that is need for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.” All I have to do to allow the denial of human rights to women to continue is to do nothing. Combined with her questions of “If not me, then who?” and “If not now, then when?”, the quote has provided an incredibly strong motivator for myself and men around the world to take this opportunity to speak out, stand up, and offer our support in the fight to secure an equal future for men and women alike.

There can no longer be any question as to who this issue affects or involves, either. Watson extended what she called a formal invitation to men to participate in the conversation, explaining that “men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.” And while I’m not personally inclined to complain about the male sex lacking in equality in the face of recent events, I’d be flat-out lying if I said that I hadn’t taken notice of the cultural norms affecting men, as well: we are supposed to be strong – even aggressive – and keep our emotions in check, to mention only a small subset of the cultural pressures men face. And as Watson so rightfully said, this has an immediate consequence of shaping the norms that affect women.

In the past, I struggled with identifying the best way to get involved and show my support for women’s rights, other than to continually try to participate in conversations that make me consider the topic on a regular basis; thanks to my wife and the wonderful friends we have that make up TLo42, these conversations usually crop up often enough to meet that requirement. But I recently realized that the current climate in gaming and the world in general, as caustic as it may be, demands only the simplest action as a first step – and I’ll leave it to Slate writer Phil Plait to put it in words (emphasis mine):

This isn’t about [loathsome knuckle-dragging Men’s Rights Advocates and their ilk]. It’s about women, and men supporting them. It’s about all of us. And doing this isn’t white-knighting, it isn’t mansplaining, and it isn’t weak, or unmanly. It is, quite simply, doing what’s right and standing up for others.

I have no claim to solutions for these problems; I cannot hope to know how to stop the hatred and violence and oppression and othering of women on the Internet and in the world.

But I know how to stand up for my friends. I know how to write, and how to make myself heard. And I can hope that other men will do this as well, because while I don’t know the whole solution, I know a part of it, a significant part of it, is just showing that we are listening, that we care, and we want to help.

And that’s why I stand with Emma Watson.

I, too, intend to do what’s right. I, too, am going to stand up for others. I, too, stand with Emma Watson. And Anita Sarkeesian. And women everywhere. And I stand with the 148, 137 other men who have already visited heforshe.org (at the time of my commitment) and resolved to support them. That’s one of the most beautiful things about HeForShe: it’s so simple. So, my fellow men and boys, make yourself heard, be counted as a HeForShe, as I have:

HeForShe

 

The fight will go on, probably, sadly, for years to come. But this is where we make our initial stand. Click the picture above to head over to heforshe.org. Because, if not you, then who? If not now, then when?

Sep 262014
 

When news first broke of the massive amounts of celebrity nude photos leaked, a friend made an interesting point to me:

If this had happened even just a few years ago, all that would have happened is everyone would have brushed it off. Some would have snached up tabloids in line at the grocery store and really no one would have thought twice about it. Now we’re discussing violation of privacy and women’s rights.

What’s changed?

Recently, video games had a really, really tough week. Anita Sarkeesian – creator of the blog Feminist Frequency and a video series called Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, released a video discussing the use of of woman–and violence against women–as backgrounds or plot drivers in video games. For this she was was abused online, threatened and forced out of her home by said threats. Along the same lines, many video game developers, writers and various people in the industry were and are facing similar treatment.

But why are we talking about this now?

Haven’t video games have always been like this? Isn’t this what makes media what it is? Why should we change something that has worked for years?

The short answer, of course, is because I think we can do better than that.

There has been a lot of talk about whether Sarkeesian and others were right or wrong in their arguments, whether sexsism in video games or media exists, whether this abuse is a real issue, is being overblown, or worse – threats against these women are being faked. (update, in this case I don’t mean threats like releasing nude photos are faked, because apparently in that case they were, but people expletive twitter attacks were faked or photoshopped.)

Yet the positive side to all this and what’s important and what’s different from those few years ago is that we’re talking about this. People are standing up and saying we can do better than this.

Not only do I feel this is important for the progression of woman in the field of video games or the media, but for the actual mediums as well. It’s easy to make the argument that we get video games that uses classic tropes that are just fine using classic video game tropes. But by thinking outside the box and challenging the status quo, maybe we can get a better video game.

But change is difficult, and to make this change, we’re going to have to go through a lot more push back and a lot more trolls. In an article regarding this topic, in an opinion article by polygon, writer Chris Plante points out:

“One side [of this argument] has folded its arms, slumped its shoulders while pouting like an obstinate child that has learned they are getting a little brother or sister but wants to remain the singular focus of their parents’ affection.”

There will probably always be the argument that this isn’t really an issue. That without these women tropes in video games the storylines wouldn’t be the same (who will the hero save if not the damsel in distress?). That women should just deal with it, because that’s life.

But why not do better? We can say forget that and make a better story line. We can find a better way to promote our case than through the the promise of naked women.

All of this will be better if nothing else because it challenges us to not be lazy. To think outside the box instead of falling back on these tropes because they’ve been done before, because they’re easy.

Whether or not you agree with Anita, Emma Watson or others trying to change things and their opinions, you should be supporting the idea of trying to raise the bar.

In the case of Sarkeesian, it should be important to note that her video isn’t asking much of video games. She’s not saying video games shouldn’t touch these themes or they should stay away from them. She simply asks them to just take a step back and try to look at things a little more critically.

“Now–to be clear–I’m certainly not saying stories seriously examining the issues surrounding domestic or sexual violence are off limits for interactive media. However, if game makers do attempt to address these themes, they need to approach the topic with the subtly, gravity and respect that the subject deserves.”

So join us, let’s give this subject the respect it deserves.

Let’s raise the bar.

Let’s change the conversation.

Sep 242014
 
Road Not Taken

Who knew that throwing trees could save children?

But it can, in Spry Fox’s newest game The Road Not Taken.

Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken is a game by the previously mentioned Seattle, WA game company – the same one that made Triple Town. Although it has more of a story line, this game is very similar to Triple Town at it’s core in it’s match-3 style combination-based gameplay.

The story follows a mysterious traveller who comes through a town. The town’s livelihood is through berry picking and they do so with their children. However, their children are getting lost out in the woods, and it is my job as the mysterious traveler to venture into the woods and reunite them with their parents.

The story is given to you in little bits. A small cut scene here, a lost child’s soul there, a quote from a ghost or a villager. It’s pieced together in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the simplistic puzzle gameplay – but it leaves you wanting more each time.

Game Play
Those who have played Triple Town will recognize The Road Not Taken’s match-3 like quality. The gameplay board is made up of squares that you can travel on. Each square is a path to travel on or contains an item you can move or interact with in some way. To get through each board, the player has to combine items into groups of 3 or more to move them, open doors and get to children to return them to their parents.

Much like Triple Town, players can combine various objects to make new ones by picking them up, throwing them and lumping them together on the gameboard. Throughout the game, as you discover new combos or, “secrets”, they go into your logbook for later reference.

Challenges
I have to admit, I was initially fooled by this games cutesy exterior and seemingly simple goal of finding children lost in the woods. Not only does the game have a little bit of a darker element with ominous music and the ghost of lost children, the gameplay is surprisingly more punishing than I expected.

To begin, at the beginning of every year (you go through several “years” searching for all the children which serve as each level), you start out with a certain amount of energy. Every time you pick up and carry an object, you lose energy. This means you can’t just go through carrying a tree to where you need to. Instead, you have to strategically throw it across the board as much as possible to avoid expending your energy meter.

Not all items are static objects either. There are living creatures that get in your way (including some familiar looking bears). In addition to that there are several forms of “ghosts”. These ghosts are different from the lost children souls you encounter on occasion. These ghost can be picked up and thrown as well as combined to make objects that are better or worse. At best you make a log out of one of them. At worst you get “doom” ghosts, who follow you around the board, attempting to trap you into a corner.

Walking into a ghost will make the character insecure about his past, whispering mean things to him as they drain all his energy. And if you lose all your energy – you start back at the beginning of the year, having to play the level all over again.

This combined with various animals that will “bite” you if you stand in the square next to them, I found the game very difficult to get through each level without having to start over several times, even with the most careful of planning.

Interactions
You can help yourself a bit before venturing out into the forest to find the children. You can interact with the villagers by bumping into them (seems rude, but effective). If you chat with them, sometimes you can trade items to try and make a friend. If you’ve made a friend, they often times will give you something to help you on your journey.

You can also teleport back to the first game board to get back into the city at anytime during gameplay to get out of a jam. However if you go into the village, you will have to start the level over again.

Music/Atmosphere
As you well know, dear reader, I’m a sucker for a good game soundtrack and this game did a great job. It’s atmospheric and ominous, playing well into this idea of lost souls and troubled past they allude to in the gameplay. The audio producer of the game, Daniel Simmons, posted a blog post on the Playstation blog about how many of the sounds were made, showing how much care was taken.

The artwork in this game was a real shining point here. It was whimsical, having a very hand drawn feel.

Overall
In the end this was a fun little game to play. I played on the PS4, although it is also available on the Vita, which I think I would have prefered to play it on. Even better, I think this game would make a great candidate for a iPad/mobile.

Because of it’s simplistic gameplay, I think I would have prefered it on a more casual format, more than sitting front and center by playing it on my console.

That being said, if you’re looking for a challenging puzzle game with great artwork and music, make sure to pick up The Road Not Taken, available now.

Sep 222014
 

I was checking all my social media during my lunch today, ’cause that is what you do in 2014 and I came across this in my News Feed.

why would we even be surprised anymore?

why would we even be surprised anymore?

And I got mad. Not just irritated, or slightly perturbed, but enraged. Just yesterday I was sharing the beginning of this story: Emma Watson speaks out at the UN that feminism isn’t a dirty word and it’s for everyone. She has started a campaign entitled “HeForShe” encouraging men to take part of the fight. [It’s getting pretty heavy holding it up by ourselves over here.] I was impressed and proud that Emma had taken and put a very public face on an issue that we have been fighting over here in the Nerd World for way way too long.

And guess what happened. She got the same treatment (albeit fairly mild compared to some) that anyone speaking up against misogyny in gaming has gotten. They couldn’t attack her argument because their logic sounds a little like “Women shouldn’t talk. Just let us covet and hate women as much as we damn well please. Oh, and give us sex when we are nice to you/want it.” So, they attack her personally. For Emma Watson this first threat is to expose her (literally) in a way that makes anyone feel vulnerable. For Anita Sarkeesian (www.feministfrequency.com) it was exposing her in the way of ruining her anonymity on the web by threatening her home and the people she cares about.

And I’m fucking tired of it. I’m taking a stand. The League of 42 is taking a stand. This is no longer an issue that we can sit on the sidelines and let other people fight for us. This is getting to be a “You are with us or against us” issue because sitting around letting anyone attack Emma or Anita is letting them attack us. Letting them beat down the people who are fighting this fight for us.

According to “The Science of Happiness”, it takes 5 positive things to erase 1 negative one in your dealings with people. So, Anita, Emma, here’s hoping that the 5 of us standing with you silences 1 of the trolls you are fighting.

Sep 182014
 

What’s up with Pinny Arcade Pins?

Not much – or at least I thought so, at first.

the newest members of the family

the newest members of the family

Let’s start at the beginning. Penny Arcade Pins are a collectable, tradable item concocted by the creators of PAX itself after Gabe (Mike Krahulik)  discovered the joy of Disney Pin Trading. They’re mostly all done in a similar style-a small metallic pin with a border, sporting the artwork of a video game, person (Penny arcade staff members, developers), random charactertures or the Gabe and Tycho themselves in some sort of weird fashion (this year, 80’s Gabe and Tycho).

So what’s the big deal?

That’s the very question I asked myself the day i picked up my first Pinny. I could never forget the day. I obtained it for free at the Sony booth after trying Infamous: Second Son. I held the piece of metal in my hand, glimmering in the low lights of the Expo hall. I stuck it on my lanyard and thought that was that.

That’s when it began. Every now and again I’d look down at my lanyard, see my prize glimmering so brightly. I liked the looked of it, I really liked the look of it. I tried to put it out of my mind once more.

the INFAMOUS first set ehh

the INFAMOUS first set ehh

When I stopped at the merch booth to grab a tee-shirt I saw another pack of Pinnys. Ones that kind of caught my eye – Behemoth ones, a developer I’m quite fond of. Specifically, the pins are done in the style of BattleBlock Theatre. I can’t get enough of it’s cutesy devilish art, the small beady eyes of the characters who, during the game, bop you on the head and throw you into a pit of spikes for glory. They were, respectively, Hatty Hattington, a viking and Davy Crockett . I bought them, added to my collection.

Something in me changed the moment that happened. Our hands exchanged money and I felt something spark. A need, a drive to find more. I found myself checking out other friends lanyards, looking up what Pinnies would be offered at what Penny Arcades, waiting in the ever long line to trade with Gabe and Tycho’s infinite loot pile.

Now there’s a place for people like me, with forums, trading events, pin quests, a list of pins and more.

I’ve never been much into collectibles. Once you start collecting, things pile up, you start having to make room for it, it seems never ending. At the same time, I can understand the appeal-the satisfaction of finding a really hard to find item. But at the same time, I never found an item I cared enough about to have a ton of it lying around my house.

But it’s different with the Pinnys. I enjoy having a piece of PAX to take home with me every year. Often that comes in the form of a T-Shirt or a Poster. But my wall space runs low and my t-shirt collection grows outside of what I can realistically wear on a day-to-day basis, Pinnys make a great alternative. Pinnys are different. Pins give me the chance to not only take home a piece of PAX, but take home a piece of that art, the love for a game, developer, interest, in a compact and easy to put place.

Sure, I might get pins I don’t care as much about, and they – like any other item, will start piling up. But that has been solved by trading events. People gathering together to exchange items, helping each other find their “unicorn” …pin.

the collection grows...

the collection grows…

No, Pins are different…and judging by the amount of people on the forums, I’m not the only person who feels this way.

So if you see me on the street or bump into me at PAX (see you all next year!), feel free to ask what I’ve got. Check out the full list here.

Happy Hunting!

Sep 022014
 

Well, this is embarrassing…  it turns out that I and the majority of the web pegging YouTube/Google as the probable buyer of Twitch.tv were perhaps a tad premature. Instead, a surprise offer from Amazon came from out of the blue, and they have been officially confirmed by Emmet Shear, CEO of Twitch, as having purchased the company for a cool $970 million . Surprise!

twitchretro2

This is the most recent and most obvious sign of what most feel Amazon is gearing up to do, which is take on Google and Netflix as a global information/content behemoth. Twitch, which didn’t even exist four years ago, has blown up into what has become a lucrative business streaming content from video games and the gaming scene in general. Amazon’s opportunity seemed to come about after Google hesitated on their deal out of fear of antitrust lawsuits (as YouTube fulfills a relatively similar service, albeit recorded).

So now the question will be what this means for Twitch. This is far and away Amazon’s largest purchase to date, which means they regard it as a very important part of their strategy moving forward. The fear with Google being the buyer would be they aggressively shut down anything remotely approaching copyright infringement. As with the last article, Twitch is very borderline as is with this. Streamers make a living posting live video of themselves playing games, which so far most game companies have embraced, even if it could technically be pursued in court, as it also brings great publicity (League of Legends). Furthermore, up until recently, many streamers would play music from their collection or from a separate streaming service while they played. This has more or less been shut-down with recent moves by Twitch. Whether or not this was in order to help facilitate sale is unknown, but as long as the game content remains untouched, this is a reasonable and very prudent move.

twitch-bandwidth-01

Overall, I have to think this will be better for Twitch than if Google had purchased it. Most signs seem to point to Amazon not wanting to limit Twitch in any way, and more or less keep business as usual. However, I think in the next year we will start to see a much wider array of video content available in Twitch, especially with recorded video (as YouTube, now a direct competitor, has been the major place to store these recordings). Amazon most definitely wants to compete with Google to be the end-all be-all of content providers, and Twitch is one of the first and most important foundations to that strategy, so they will be taking extra care to continue providing the same quality of service. Google may not have had quite the same need to do so, as they already control a huge sector of the market.

So just like everyone else, we are waiting to see how this turns out, but I myself have a better feeling about the Amazon purchase than I would have with Google, and it sure seems to set up an interesting clash between two of the biggest names on the web.

 Posted by at 6:28 pm
Aug 292014
 

In an interesting move, Nintendo announced today that they are releasing an updated version of the 3DS and the 3DS XL, currently titled the new 3DS and the new 3DS LL.

New-Nintendo-3DS-5

Currently only planned to be released in Japan in October, the new 3DS consoles feature the following major changes:

- Completely customizable snap-on top and bottom covers

- Updated processors for faster gaming and better graphics

- An improved 3D viewing system; the camera follows your head angle to ensure that the 3D doesn’t blur as it currently does if you look at it from any angle except directly in front

- Change from SD Card to microSD

- Battery will now be replaceable and each will hold about 7 hours of gameplay

- Updated gameplay buttons (now colorful)

- New shoulder pad buttons, labeled ZR & ZL

- A tiny analog pad button above the action buttons

They won’t be released in the US this year, but expect the announcement from Nintendo America for a release date in early 2015. Will you be updating your model?

Jul 022014
 

the-wolf-among-us - Copy

I purchased The Wolf Among on a whim; I have not paid too much attention to Telltale games, the creators of the hit Walking Dead games, as I am not really into the show or comic, so I have passed on their games even with the hugely positive response they received. Now I am beginning to think I’ve made a huge mistake, because if they are anything like Wolf, it’s definitely another must play series for me. I happened upon a lets play video of Wolf Among Us while randomly perusing Youtube, got as far as the introduction, and knew I had to play this game. Luckily for me, it happened to be the last day of the Steam Summer Sale, and Wolf was available for a fantastic price, so I snapped it up. I have now finished the first episode, and started the second (as well as a second run through the first, with entirely different decisions), and I have to say I have been absolutely blown away by this game.

Set in 1980’s New York, and based off of a comic book series called “Fables,” we step into the shoes of one Bigby Wolf. He is the sheriff of Fabletown, where creatures and characters from fables and legends reside in secret. Each resident must purchase an enchantment called a “glamour” in order to remain concealed from the normal humans. Bigby Wolf is of course the Big Bad Wolf, now reformed and trying to maintain order within their community. It isn’t too long before fables (the characters that is) start to show up dead, and it’s our job as sheriff to unravel this mystery and find the killer.

wolf2

Like Walking Dead, Wolf is a modern take on the classic point and click adventure game. Interaction with the environment is mostly limited to checking out clues and the occasional quick-time event fight (which are AWESOME). Dialogue is where you are going to spend the majority of your time, and I’m happy to report this has been fantastically done by Telltale. The story is dark and gripping, and most of your decisions carry heavy consequences. Bigby’s moral compass is, at best, very grey, and it is left up to the player whether you want to continue on the reformed path and attempt peaceful resolutions and gain the respect of your fellow fables, or if you want to bring forward more of his darker side. With the darker story and the high stakes, it can be a difficult choice, and I often found myself jumping back and forth across the line as necessary, doing what I had to do to get to the bottom of events. This may have led to some justified hatred by many of the fables, but it’s for the greater good. Right? The only thing I would like to see removed is the rather silly windows that pop up reminding you of the effects of your actions. I don’t need to be told each time that this character will “remember” my actions, or that they noticed something I did. That should be up to the player to pick up, as it can break immersion a bit.

Suitably, the art style is very obviously comic influenced, and it is beautifully done. The world is grimy and magical, with lots of color in an 80’s styling. Every character and location is perfect, and I would be quite happy to have a print of about any random screenshot from this game. If you are a fan of more of an artistic, hand-drawn look, this should be right up your alley.

wolf3

Any fan of The Walking Dead games should definitely check this out, as should anyone looking for a dark, story-driven game that would feel right at home with a Neil Gaiman novel. The beautiful art, awesome fights, and questionable morality all combine perfectly into a great noir fantasy/mystery game, and make Wolf Among Us is a no-brainer. There are a couple small things that prevent this from being perfect, but even still it is absolutely one of my favorite games I have played this year.

Wolf Among Us is available for almost all major consoles and PC. You can find it on steam here.

 Posted by at 8:01 pm
Jun 102014
 

 

Link Hyrule So, we *might* be a tiny bit biased here at The League 0f 42, with several of our authors citing the Legend of Zelda series as their all-time favorite series and going so far as to use it as an entire argument for the 3DS over the PS Vita, but the new trailer for the Legend of Zelda for the Wii U has us salivating. An entire open-world Hyrule, a la Skyrim? Where do I preorder?

Zelda Hyrule

And I do think it is worth mentioning that no one has confirmed that the individual in the trailer is Link. There is a possibility, albeit slight, that the figure atop the horse is Zelda herself or a female reincarnation of our beloved hero. I do want to note that “Link” is not wearing the traditional green. The hero is androgynous enough that it could go either way, and I will be happy with anything. (Though part of me will keep my fingers crossed that we get to save Link as Zelda this time around.)

Check out the trailer for the first, or hundredth, time:

What do you think? Are you excited for the new Zelda? Could our protagonist be a female?