Being Black in Video Games

Being Black in real life isn’t super easy. Sure you always have company whenever you go shopping, even if you started alone. You’re more likely to have a living will or healthcare proxy (at least you should). Because Black folks are dropping dead like it’s Jim Crow again.
South Park’s new game recently introduced a slider that was labeled “Difficulty” and changed the character’s race. The darker you are the “harder” the difficulty. It’s funny because it’s true.

At least Fractured But Whole lets you be a person of color if you really want to. Or if you just really want to see a person of color as a hero in a video game. Continue reading “Being Black in Video Games”

The Surge illustrates how beautifully the good intentions of corporations pave the way to Hell

The Surge from Maximum Games and Focus Home Interactive has it all: A teaser that opens with a corporate spokesman explaining how their company is going to no only save the world but also the people- by MAKING THEM BETTER,  glitchy feedback, space, robots, a desperation that can only lead to the most dangerous kind of progress.

Continue reading “The Surge illustrates how beautifully the good intentions of corporations pave the way to Hell”

5 Video Game Futures That Could Be Awesome

Sometimes the present is boring and the future takes too long to get here. No hover cars, no robots, not a single alien. In video games we get to see the possibilities for the future good, but mostly bad. But I don’t think the bad is really all that bad. If you look from the right angle, some of these video game futures are kind of awesome.

1. BorderlandsBorderlands2boxart3

If you’re a psycho or a bandit in the Borderlands future your life expectancy is probably not very promising.
However the Borderlands future is an entrepreneur’s dream. From magic powers to treasure chests everywhere you turn, it’s a wondrous place for those with plans and ambition. Would you like to run a bar like Moxie? Maybe have an army of brutes like Handsome Jack? Or, maybe you’d like to start a simple minion  operation like Claptrap? It’s all possible!
Sir Hammerlock is an anthropologist of sorts and even though he’s lost a limb or two, he’s having a ball. Of course there’s a constant threat of death an destruction and the wildlife is out to get you, but that just spices up life on Pandora.
What’s the fun in  just safely walking from point A to Point B with no threat of being stomped or devoured?!

2. Mass EffectMasseffectlogo

Ignoring the very end, Mass Effect was a damn good future while it lasted. Unless you were sick or enslaved or from a place that got invaded while no one was watching…
But! for people who live in the Citadel or on Commander Shepard’s ship life is pretty fun. There are so many different aliens to mingle with. Different planets are waiting to be mined for resources or treasure. There are bazaars for buying, discos for dancing, and beautiful views every which way you turn. And every time you want to go somewhere, you get to hop on a space ship.
Maybe (likely) a big draw for the Mass Effect future are the characters in it. Mordin, Garraus, Harrot… Any future that produces people like that, must be a wonderful place… aside from the constant threat of  interstellar destruction.
3. HaloHalo_Generations_by_Halcylon
Sure, life on the ground might be a bit chaotic with all the indiscriminate killing and various types of grenades being thrown at the suicide grunts and highly explosive vehicles but Spartans don’t live on the ground. Hopefully no one lives on the ground considering it’s pretty much razed except for the beautiful and indestructible buildings.
Oh and how beautiful are the buildings?! If there’s a dystopian, post-apocalyptic place to be stranded, one of the Halo colonies would be perfect. If there aren’t any Spartans or Flood or Covenant or other type of weapon-wielding juggernaut around, you could make yourself quite comfortable in one of the many abandoned buildings.
Hell, even if there are killer factions around, there are piles of weapons caches as well to help you defend your turf. Most buildings also have some kind of anti-air weaponry waiting to help keep your city beautiful.
4. Resident EvilResident Evil - Apocalypse (2)
Very few people will agree with this one because it seems like Alice is the only person who survives this future without being controlled by robot spiders or locked in a coma pod. …Actually Alice might have died and been a clone or two a few times.
All that aside– and also ignoring the the fact that the zombies in this future are psychotic, monstrous  beasts– notice that the zombie populations in the Resident Evil future are in massive hordes. Massive as in the entire population of California is gathering around this one building. That means everywhere else in California is empty and worry free.
Alice is a badass but she have a 50/50 save to loss ratio for her party member (at best). If your goal is to survive, avoid Alice.
Find a comfortable place outside a city to cal home and wait for whoever is fighting in this chapter to drop some bombs on the horde and know it’s not your problem. The skies (except in the one chapter there seemed to be vicious bird things…) are clear and the air is safe to breath.The pollution is no worse than it’s been and no one interrupts your shows to tell you a celebrity is having a baby. Even the bandits have to work hard to earn their keep.
5. Dead Risingscreenlg4
In Dead Rising 2 the zombie threat is mostly under control. Under control to the point where zombies are used in entertainment.
People choose to group up around zombies to watch them get their comeuppance. The uprising was quelled and now, instead of cleanly ridding society of zombies, zombies are props and the virus is a controllable condition. This sounds so great!
Maybe zombies feel pain, maybe they don’t but using them for violent entertainment is a bit barbaric. No worries, there’s even a group of activists that fight against that part.
All that nonsense aside, this is a future where you can find work on a zombie clean up crew, the malls are open, and the zombie virus can be kept at bay with pills. A boring lunch time walk requires a solid bat, just in case.If you’re spending a day at the beach, you pack sunscreen, towels, and a crowbar!
Who doesn’t want a world that’s mainly organized but has a bit of extra spice to kick things up a notch?

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The Land of The Video Game Apocalypse

Video games and the apocalypse go hand in hand. Player One is always that one guy with shit to do and an appointment on Tuesday trying to make his (or her) way through this mess and help all these people out—how’d they survive before Player One came along?
But, we keep coming back to these needy people in their dangerous world because of some romanticism that we can hack it, fix it, or beat it into submission.
Of all the video game apocalypses, which is the worst; which is the best? Is it the overwhelming zombies of Resident Evil, the galactic invasions of Mass Effect, the aggressive extermination in Halo, or some other hellish scenario?
If given the choice, I’d find this Unicorn Apocalypse from the Samsung Mobile commercials and be there. I don’t know all the details of Unicorn Apocalypse I just know those are two things I need to see in one place in order to die happy.

Some of my favorite and most feared video game apocalypses

Continue reading “The Land of The Video Game Apocalypse”

"The Reapers won't stop at Earth." – The Mass Effect Universe

Mass Effect 3 is the final installment of the much beloved trilogy. Though mainly established through revolutionary action RPG games, the universe spans comics, novels, film, and amime. It’s almost as pervasive as the Reapers themselves.
The story of Commander Shepard and crew is set in the far future where humans and other alien races have a tenuous balance of power and trust. Enter the mysterious Collectors and the wicked Reapers bent on taking over the entire universe.
In anticipation of the ME3 launch on March 6th 2012, let’s look at the major milestones (SPOILERS) in the the franchise in (in-universe) chronological order: Continue reading “"The Reapers won't stop at Earth." – The Mass Effect Universe”

Save the Universe You Love on Valentine's Day


This Valentine’s day Bioware will be releasing the demo for Mass Effect 3. Knowing how hot the gaming world is to finally know what happens between Shep and The Reapers once and for all, Bioware whets our appetites with just a taste of what’st to come in Mass Effect 3 when it launches on March 3rd.
The developed detailed the move in a press:

Award-winning developer BioWare, a label of Electronic Arts Inc., announced today that the demo for 2012’s first blockbuster game, Mass Effect™ 3 will be available beginning February 14, 2012. The extensive demo will allow players to experience the all-out galactic war against an ancient alien race known as the Reapers from multiple fronts, including the mind-blowing opening attack on Earth that kicks off the single-player campaign.  Players will go deeper into the campaign and also get a taste of the franchise’s new co-operative multiplayer mode as they preview the epic story, adrenaline-pumping action and deep customization options that lie ahead when Mass Effect 3 launches on March 6, 2012. The Mass Effect 3 demo will be available for the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC. Mass Effect 3 will also be one of the first pre-launch demos to support full voice recognition functionality on Kinect™ for Xbox 360.

In Mass Effect 3, players will be thrust into an all-out galactic war to take Earth back and save the entire galaxy, assuming the role of Commander Shepard, a war-torn veteran who’s willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate this nearly unstoppable foe. With a team of elite, battle-hardened soldiers at your side, each player decides how they will take Earth back, from the weapons and abilities they utilize to the relationships they forge or break. Mass Effect 3 also features a new co-operative gameplay mode that allows fans to experience the war from a different perspective. Players who want to try this new mode will be able to do so on February 17, or by qualifying for early access to the co-op portion of the demo which begins February 14. Gamers qualify for early access if they have activated their Battlefield 3™ online pass* or though other opportunities that will be announced in the near future www.masseffect.com.
(source)

Get ready to blow off that someone special so you can spend time with Shep and some Brave and Beautiful aliens.

Apocalyptic Travel Tips

Travel is a messy and difficult thing. Often because it involves more than just you, a point A, and a point B. There are gatekeepers who want to make sure you’re not only not a security risk but also that you’ve simply followed the rules that have been laid out. Other people will also be traveling with or along side you. If they’re children or elderly, then they’ll need to use the bathrooms and eat and just waste your time as much as they can. And, finally, there will be stuff. We’ve gone over what you can and should bring with you before the apocalypse. Now, lets look at what travel tips we should bear in mind when traveling post-apocalyptically. Continue reading “Apocalyptic Travel Tips”