A Look at How Games Handle Building relationships

One of the primary tasks of a good game developer is to simplify real life into intuitive and accessible game mechanics. Think about shooting a gun in real life, vs shooting a gun in a game. The process by which you must prepare a gun for use, load the gun, and fire is reduced to one or two controller inputs. One of the main requirements of a game is that it somehow makes the simulated experience relatively easy to access.

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The Elevated Gaming Experience: Dystopic and Utopic Worlds

A core piece of what makes video games appealing is their ability to simulate a believable (different than realistic) experience that is somehow elevated from real life. This can be done in a number of ways relying mainly on the framework of either a utopian or dystopian game world. Or more simplistically, worlds where you can get a game over or worlds where you cannot.

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A Salute to the First Queer Character in Fire Emblem

Such a tasteful treatment of these themes seems radical when you first think about it, but in reality, it's not so much. Video games for many years have had characters who are Queer. Some of these characters are offensive and saturated with stereotype but some fly under the radar. For Pride month my intention is to remember some of these characters and honor them.

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Black People Need More Hair Options

It's 2017, many games allow you to play as a Black PC, even in the games with longstanding traditions of pallidness. This is significant, being able to finally play as a character that looks like me in Pokemon and Harvest Moon was a childhood dream made a reality but, that doesn't mean that it's all sunshine and roses. I've talked about the ways that these representations of Black folk are inadequate before but, I want to point out one of the larger inadequacies for a moment, mainly, the lack of attention given to hair.

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The Pokemon Company Made a Gender Queer Player Character, so Why Not Go the Extra Mile?

While a, seemingly, tiny point, this conversation actually has some radical implications. For one thing, the PC is never gendered in Magikarp Jump. While initially I thought this may have just been a situation of a character who is always a boy, it's then confirmed that no one in the game really knows. And the PC keeps it that way. When the Man of Mystery asks them, the PC looks annoyed rather than answer. What this points to, is that this playable character is gender Queer. They neither identify or present as a girl or a boy. 

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Talkin' About Twintelle

Because I am an owner of a Nintendo Switch and a huge fan of Nintendo's reinterpretations of classic genres, such as what Splatoon did with shooters, I've been following Arms very closely. Arms is Nintendo's goofy, bright colored and unique take on a fighting game and it's been making waves in the gaming community for some time. There are so many questions about it ranging from  about the controls to the apparent $80 barrier between a Switch owner and local multiplayer. But recently Arms has been receiving attention for their resident woman of color, Twintelle for both good and bad reasons. It started with the Nintendo Direct announcement  of the new character which, introduced Twintelle as a beautiful, buxom, warrior with mechanized hair. Though I had a hard time finding the official video, take my word it, the first shot in the video was an ass shot.

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Remembering all the Games I Loved as a kid, That were bad

I recently finished building a little portable game emulator called a Piigrrl 2. Using a Raspberry Pi 3 computer, some components, and following some instructions very closely, I was able to create something really special. With it, I can play many of my favorite games from back when I was a child and what I've come to realize is my taste was kinda bad and very obscure. I'm not sure at what point I started following video game news closely online but up until a certain point, I found games by walking into the local GameStop or Bestbuy and going up and down the game section looking for anything I recognized or looked cool. The result was I bought and enjoyed a lot of games that no one really knows or cares about so, when I go to find some of the games I truly loved I suddenly realize a lot of them were fairly obscure and more than a couple of them are truly bad. Here are a few games as a kid I truly loved and now playing them back, are either bad, obscure or probably both.

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The Sterilization of Queer Characters in the Persona Series

As the Persona series bursts forth into, nearly, every list of the best JRPGS out there from the momentum of Persona 4 and now Persona 5, more than ever, I think it important to think back at the series' treatment of Queer characters or more applicable, mistreatment. The series has a history of flirting with Queer storylines and characters and then at the last moment, un-Queering the narrative. This has happened multiple times over the course of every modern Persona game and each situation is uniquely troubling. Today I'll be looking at the situations of Aigis, Kanji, Naoto Yusuke, and the protagonist in every single entry.

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The Balance Between Expediency and Detail in Final Fantasy XV

After griping many times and really and truly considering skipping it, I've finally taken the dive into Final Fantasy XV, a cute little bro narratives about a prince and his friends on a grand adventure. In my short time with the game, so I've become obsessed with a small but meaningful point in this game which is, the total lack of expediency in this game's design.

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A Look at Dark-Skinned Pixel Sprites

I was on Twitter the other day when I came across a really amazing document put together by @castpixel (and others) which sought to take a look at racial representation within the realm of pixel sprites in gaming. I noticed a couple things right off the bat, firstly, there are actually quite a few people of color depicted in pixel sprites across quite a few different types of roles and that was actually surprising. I admit when I think about representation in the AAA industry, I often think about the current standards which are rendered, normally, in 3-D. Secondly, many of these characters are unplayable and third of all, there are some deep issues with the types of portrayals here, as they rely on stereotypes. Let's get into it.

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The Danger Superiority Narratives in Games

One of the greatest draws of a game is that, in nearly every single one of them, the player takes on the role of a hero. Someone who is capable of feats that no one else around them is able to achieve. They are exceptional and thereby, you the player, are exceptional as well. No one else can save the world, no one else is going to try and save the world.

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The Black Sidekick in Games

Very rarely do you have a game where you play as a Black person, the entire time. Sometimes you get the curve ball playable character option or the technically playable party member but, it's always very clear that these characters are not intended to be the center of the story. These characters are relegated to the role of sidekick.  Any representation, at face value, seems like a step forward for an industry which, just a matter of a few years ago, rarely ever included Black people at all. But, view it in a larger context and things get tricky. What is the effect of the Black character almost always taking on the role of a side character?

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The Problem with Fallout and Elder Scrolls Series and the Entire AAA Industry

I haven't had a good time with the games Bethesda Studios has made. Maybe it's just my luck, but I have never played a game from the Fallout or Elder Scrolls series where I haven't ran into a game breaking bug that cost me several hours of progress. To give you an idea of what this means, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim, and Fallout 4 all gave me some sort of trouble. So every game for the last 8 years minus Fallout Shelter has broken on me. I understand I am in the minority on this and have gotten incredibly unlucky but, luck shouldn't have fuck all to do with if a game is a fully functional product.

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