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”

Likely Apocalypses: Zombie Apocalypse

While a Zombie Apocalypse might not be the most likely, it’s definitely the most well trodden.

Zombies are fictional undead creatures that are created when the dead body of a human being is restored to “life” again. This phenomenon is so interesting that Hollywood has made many movies on it.
In ancient concepts, zombies were created by doing magic on the dead. In modern terms, the meaning has completely changed. Now there is no magic instead the zombies are created by accidents like unusual radiation, mental illness, viruses, scientific accidents etc.
In most zombie theories, people believe that any person that dies, no matter what their cause of the death, will become one of the undead.

  • Zombies eat living things, mainly humans.
  • If a zombie bites someone, it spreads the disease to that person and they are also transformed into a zombie.
  • Some zombie viruses can also be spread by water, sexually or even by air.

Thus, if in some area of the world someone accidentally got affected by a zombie virus, they would spread the virus locally, if not nationally, within a few weeks.
What might the Zombie Apocalypse look like?
The scenario of a zombie apocalypse has been covered by many movies, video games, books, comic books, and TV shows.
The Walking Dead, for example, has covered a lot of things about zombies, how they “live,” survival, and how they might look.
According to the theories, these undead people will try to eat your brain or flesh. They will have messy hair, move like a drunken person, have a decaying flesh, and odors will be so pungent you may actually see them.
In short, they will likely be so gross that you’ll want to vomit and run away.

Is the zombie apocalypse really going to happen?

May be, maybe not. Just be prepared. Some diseases currently in existence are as deadly as any zombie virus: like rabies, human mad cow disease, all variations of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), etc. These diseases affect the human brain and have high chances of mortality. They are highly painful and can change the behavior of a normal person to an aggressive beast.
Plus, there will be a lunar eclipse across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina on Aug 21, 2017. People believe that radiation from the eclipse could be a reason for corpses to regain mobility as an undead scourge. Make sure you protect your eyes. Wear the eclipse glasses and find some indirect method to see the eclipse to avoid the harmful radiations as much as possible.

What to do for survival?

For survival, you will have to make a plan.

  • You can live only three days without water and 3 weeks without food.
  • Securely store a decent amount of water or make sure you have a way to purify a source.
  • Store enough food for yourself and family for at least a few weeks.
  • Keep everything you need at home and don’t leave unless you are going for something that is more important than your life.
  • Keep your weapons with you all the times.

Why minorities will survive the apocalypse

Young Fresh Multiracial Group - Peel and Stick Wall Decal by Wallmonkeys
Young Fresh Multiracial Group – Peel and Stick Wall Decal by Wallmonkeys… Why you want a multiracial group of strangers giving the thumbs up stuck on your wall is beyond me; but you can have it for $33.99.

In most popular media about the apocalypse minorities are pretty much Red Shirts— there because someone needs to die so it might as well be them. This was highlighted in a PinkRayGun article recapping the season finale of Falling Skies.
The Black Dude Dies First is a well trodden trope in almost all mediums, especially the post-apocalyptic genre. Terra Nova did it. The Walking Dead has championed the token minority trope— but at least they get to live. However these tropes don’t take into account the stereotypes and facts that would actually keep minorities alive in apocalyptic times.

Black people are fast and carry guns

Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports And Why We're Afraid To Talk About ItIf Black people are faster than the rest of the people then they’re the most likely to get away. It’s like that saying/cartoon/adage[1. To be honest, I don’t know where it came from. It’s just a thing people say.]: You don’t need to outrun the bear, you just need to outrun the other person running from the bear. In this case, “Bear” would be “Zombie.”
Congrats, Black people, all you have to do is live up to the hype and you won’t be the minority for long. And if all else fails, just whip out your standard issue gun and slow some folks down like our favorite Deputy Dickbag [2. SPOILER – I’m talking about Shane from The Walking Dead.].

Asians are smart and have super-human muscle memory.

Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers--and How You Can Too
While I might be in a minority of people still watching America’s Next Best Dance Crew, I’m sure if someone else had been watching they’d notice the disproportionately high number of Asians (then blacks and then Hispanics). It’s similar to the disproportionately high number or Asians in the Math, Science, and Engineering schools on college campuses.
These people[3. Yes, I see what I did there.], if they have the aptitude they’re assumed to have, will be able to out survive their majority friends. They’ll build lifesaving tech, and bust out some mind-bending dance/fighting moves to confound the enemy then scurry away through a tiny air vent that the more privileged and more obese can’t fit it.

Hispanics are shifty and travel in uncountable numbers

Latinos, Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a PeopleSurprise, Bitches! Little Jose isn’t alone.
As soon as the bandits get comfortable confronting him, sixteen dudes with chains and bats start creeping slowly from around corners. What the What?!
If Hispanics truly travel in deep, secretive numbers as it’s suggested they do, they’ve got the element to surprise built into their social culture.
We saw it on season one of The Walking Dead, there was one little boy. Then five(ish) dudes that he ran to for safety. Then a community of, like, 67 people running a co-op as though it wasn’t the apocalypse at all… Okay.

Minorities expect the worst

Passing for what you are not--whether it is mulattos passing as white, Jews passing as Christian, or drag queens passing as women--can be a method of protection or self-defense. But it can also be a uniquely pleasurable experience, one that trades on the erotics of secrecy and revelation. It is precisely passing's radical playfulness, the way it asks us to reconsider our assumptions and forces our most cherished fantasies of identity to self-destruct, that is centrally addressed in Passing: Identity and Interpretation in Sexuality, Race, and Religion.Being a minority doesn’t just mean you have super powers, it also means you’re persecuted on some other make-believe shit.   Sometimes that’s in the form of actively being hunted. Sometimes that’s verbal assaults. Often that physical violence. In Carriers (2009) there’s a scene where a bunch of redneck thugs in a pick-up truck string up an Asian man with a sign that reads: Chinks brought it.
This constant persecution and threat of violence has bread a more cautious mindset into many minority cultures. Not simply, the choice to “stick with your own kind,” but a self-preservation instinct that identifies others as not only actual, but also statistical enemenies.
By default, if you’re The Black Guy you expect to be the first to go down. The Hispanic Guy should expect to not be trusted and eventually turned on. And the Asian can expect to die second because no one will get his back.
From Nazis to the Ku Klux Klan to the Westbro Baptist Church, rightness and facts have never been the first choice for those who prey on minorities. And consistency has never really been the first choice of wrirters portraying minorities.
Maybe one day the apocalypse will come and and everyone will flood the local ghettos (because that’s where you find people of color) in a desperate attempt to recruit a few good minorities into their party. Or, maybe, one day we’ll realize minorities aren’t this amalgas concept of “people of color” as much as they’re just people. Not embodiments of concepts, standards of measurement, and especially not cannon fodder.

Review: Episode Two: Starved For Help (The Walking Dead Game)

Episode Two: Starved for Help [1. This title was provided for review by Telltale Games.] of The Walking Dead is more than aptly named and twice as terrifying as episode one.
I’ll try not to spoil anything from Starved for Help but will spoil Episode One: A New Day. You should have played it by now.

In Episode Two: Starved for Help we find ourselves holed up at a motel dangerously low on supplies and patience with the challenge of not only rationing what we have but also taking charge as an effective leader.
I let Carly die in Episode One: A New Day so I could have humble tech expert Doug around incase we need to rig up a generator or something. Also I liked his meekness rather than over-confident bravado. He, to me, was practical and level headed. Unfortunately, in Episode Two: Starved for Help he just kind of sits around feeling guilty for being alive and being more or less useless.
Curse my soft heart.
This time I wanted to be more calculating. I had a new party member, Mark, who was good at everything, including being the ideal party member! I sort of rescued some high school kids and their teacher and quickly learned that Katjaa is not a doctor.
I felt Episode One: A New Day centered around what kind of person you want to be or, at the very least, the kind of person you want people to think you are. Episode Two: Starved for Help centered around how well you trust and act on your own instincts. It’s more about moral choices than social ones. I can’t say I made all the most moral choices but damn did I have to think deeply about them.
This episode of The Walking Dead is seriously gut-wrenching. Every decision feels both right and wrong; satisfying and regrettable.
My Party for Episode Two: Starved for Help (in order of who I like the most):

Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-lee
Lee
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-clementine
Clementine
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-doug
Doug
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-kenny
Kenny
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-lilly
Lilly
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-katjaa
Katjaa
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-duck
Duck
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-larry
Larry

Keep in mind this game is not as playful as many games. It’s deep an heavy and people die and it’s still fun in a sick and empowering way.
[Rating:4]
(It’s on my shortlist of rations receivers.)

Now I’d like to visit Spoiler City to discuss and validate my decisions in Episode Two: Starved for Help:

1. I chopped David’s leg off. I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. I guess I did but I’d have rather have given in the option of being shot or one-legged. Instead it was leave him to die or hang out and hack his leg off. Fuck that was an unpleasant experience.
2. I fed Mark (what a waste!), Kenny, Clementine, Duck, and… I think Katjaa or Myself. I didn’t want to be light-headed and feeling the effects of choosing not to eat. Feed the kids because, duh. Kenny is my homeboy and I wanted Mark to stay forever… should have known random awesome new guy was too good to be true.
3. If I remember correctly, there were some bandits that I avoided rather than engage.
4. I waited to hear Jolene out. She was way crazy but she was making sense and those dairy farmer’s were definitely hiding something. Unfortunately Danny did not want to hear Jolene out and their wonderful little operation.
5. I tried really hard to keep Clementine from eating the food and somehow through my clumsy slow-motion gameplay I managed to stop her in the nick of time.
6. I’m apparently an asshole but I helped (did it myself) kill Larry. That fucker was a loose cannon waiting to go off and  he was going to turn into a zombie! An angry racist (?), judgmental, zombie!
7. I killed Danny. He sucked so very much and was quite dangerous. I know Clem was watching but he wanted to eat people slowly over days and was an overall evil monster.
8. I “spared” Andy knowing he’d be fucked on his own so, really I saw it as a choice between quick death and slow death.
9. I’m the greed dick who took your supplies. Who leaves their car full of awesome valuable just laid out like a trap except with no trap?! I assume you’re already dead; and if not, you deserve to be looted and I hope you learned a valuable lesson.
[/wpspoiler]
 
 
 

Review: The Walking Dead – Episode One: A New Day

Episode One: A New Day definitely has places to be and paths to take you there but to say it’s on rails would be doing it a huge disservice. Maybe a choose your own action adventure on rails would be most accurate as it is most accurately not of any specific genre.

Episode One: A New Day of The Walking Dead[1. A copy of this game was provided for review by Telltale games.] is finally out and it has all kind of expectations to live up to. The comics, the show, and what’s current in action adventure gaming today. Telltale Games set out to please everyone and no one. For the game to be successful it must stand on its own but still make sense within the The Walking Dead universe.
We’re introduced to The Walking Dead universe in Episode One: A New Day at the kickoff of the zombie apocalypse rather than weeks in as we are at the start of the TV series.
Immediately, we’re introduced to our main character, Lee Everett[2. A black man in the back of a police cruiser. Le Sigh.] and we get to decide what kind of person he’s going to be based on how he completes conversations–or doesn’t.  Not saying anything is an option, it’s also the default when you time out.
See, in the story summary video below there are choices being made that bring to along to those places and those conversations–those outbursts aren’t standard. Lee rarely says anything without your consent.

The game definitely has places to be and paths to take you there but to say it’s on rails would be doing it a huge disservice. Maybe a choose your own action adventure on rails would be most accurate as it is most accurately not of any specific genre.
However, to get a bit more specific, Episode One: A New Day offers some first level game things that should be noted.

The gameplay mechanics of Episode One: A New Day:


As is to be expected from a choose your own action adventure on rails, the game quickly introduces the method for choosing. The method is pushing the button that corresponds with your choice.
If you have the hints on, you might be notified after making a choice that you’re now seen as a nice guy, or an asshole, or a sketchball. It depends on what you decide to say.
Conversation choices need to be made quickly (sort of) or you’ll be stuck with the default or your choice will be “silence.” Saying nothing can sometimes say a lot about you.
Action choices, while they need to be made quickly can also be left to inaction like saving This Guy, That Guy, or neither. Though often in action choices you must choose.
Objects also must be found to complete a number or scenarios… So maybe this is a choose your own action adventure puzzler on rails. Anyway, a small number or items are kept in your inventory to be used either on people or thing to either solve them or win them over.

The story of Episode One: A New Day:[3. Of course, I get a little butthurt about the black man being carted off to jail for murder as an introduction, though it’s heavily tempered by my happiness that a mainstream game is actually staring a person of color as a regular person rather than a shaman or witch doctor or gang member or rapper.]

I was immediately engaged in the story presented in Episode One. The officer in the car is transporting Lee to jail but doesn’t believe he’s truly guilty. Out the window you–you’re allowed to look around as much as a real neck would allow– might see shambling people, and car accidents.
Eventually, you hit a person (zombie) and it knocks the police car into a ditch. Sorting yourself out at the bottom of this ditch is where you sort out how to control the character, interact with your environment, kill stuff and really do all the basic tutorial stuff. Lee comes to grips with the fact that something terrible happened and people are all fucked up.
Making your way through a neighborhood, Lee finds a house and is charged with making a friend or three to eventually get himself out of the suburbs.
Lee’s murdering past comes up often as a kind of haunting character motivation piece. Thankfully there aren’t any flashbacks.

Overall Episode One: A New Day:


1. The art style is great. It’s not intended to be Mass Effect-real or straight up cartooney. There’s a great mix of comic art and animated effects. To me, it felt new and worked well with the game.
2. Nobody is perfect. I hated something about every character, which to me is good because it means they’re not trying to make super familiar likable characters. Everyone, felt really regular and realistic. I think they did a better job of humanizing characters than the TV show did[4. Sorry, can’t help but compare.]
3. Maybe because I’m a nerd and I love graphs and stats, but I was geeked to see the comparison at the end of the level about who made the same choices you did. Were you among the majority? Did other people stay silent when they could have spoke up?
It’s a great feature that ads a bit of perspective and community to an otherwise solitary experience.
4. It’s not as heavy as the chow or the comics. People die and impactful decisions need to be made but they don’t unsettle me. I feel like playing through some of the decisions  in the show and the comics would have been really difficult.
5. There can be a lot of hurry up and wait. It’s urgent to get to X or to do Y but you can spend eight years searching a room for the A or you have to talk to every singly person before you can progress. I don’t care about some people and their motives
6. In order button mashing is how you fight. So, a zombie attacks and the screen flashes “x” and you tap it and then it flashes “b” and you tap that and you can win, lose or not die but not really win. Personally, I like being in full control of a hit stuff button.
I’m having fun playing and so excited to find out what happens next in Episode Two.
[Rating:4.5]

Remember, the full five episode season of The Walking Dead for PC and Mac is available for purchase via the Telltale Games Store (http://www.telltalegames.com/store/) and other digital distribution outlets as a season pass for $24.99.  Once launched on Xbox 360, each episode will cost just 400 MS Points, and on PlayStation 3, each episode will cost just $4.99, or $19.99 as a season pass.

Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Video Game!

Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd, Ohmigawd! I’ll try to breath, but, it’s finally happening. No, not the apocalypse. The Walking Dead video game. They said it would but after waiting so long (at least it felt like so long) I thought, maybe it was just an idea that wouldn’t really come to full fruition.
Then, one day, I saw the AMC choose your own adventure motion comic game thing, Dead Reckoning, and thought that was the game. I mean, it was awesome but not what I expected from Telltale Games. They make games not promotional content. (By the way, check out the AMC promotional games for The Walking Dead, they’re generally awesome.)
Finally, today, I got the press release  along with the video for the “Choice Matters” trailer:

Tellale explains the details in today’s press release:

Telltale Games and Robert Kirkman, the Eisner Award-winning creator and writer of The Walking Dead for Skybound Entertainment and Image Comics, announced today that the first episode of the game series based on the critically acclaimed comic book series, The Walking Dead, is now available for download.  Players can purchase the PC and Mac versions from the Telltale Games Online Store, as well as Steam and other digital distribution services.  The first episode is also available for download now on PlayStation®Network for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, and will be available Friday, April 27th on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Every system (except the Zelda/Mario/Exercise console)!
Continue reading “Telltale Games' The Walking Dead Video Game!”

Killing Zombies: What they don't tell you

The likelihood of zombies rising up and trying to eat your face isn’t the point. What is the point is that if zombies do rise up you need to be prepared to kill them or you’ll get eaten.
Everyone knows you should aim to disable a zombie’s brain to take them down for good. But what do you do before you start swinging? How do you prepare to fight instead of flee? Continue reading “Killing Zombies: What they don't tell you”

Walking Dead Season 2 (violent) Preview

If your job disapproves of the ole ultra-violence, then this is not safe for work (NSFW).

Woop. Looks like they’ll still be killing zombies in season 2. Hopefully season two is a little more… something. I don’t know what was missing, but there was something lacking. It was somehow both awesome and listless. Continue reading “Walking Dead Season 2 (violent) Preview”