Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Video Game Wrap-Up

2012 was an interesting time in games. Indie titles like Minecraft, Fez, Journey, and the Walking Dead gained not only popularity but awards. Journey's soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy, making it the first video game to ever receive a nod. And of course, the Walking Dead won GOTY at the VGAs.

2012 also saw its fair share of controversy including the Mass Effect 3 ending, the Tomb Raider "rape" trailer, the bullying and harassment of  the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games kickstarter, and the latest installment of "video games cause violent behavior in real life."

I have written about most these things and others. In fact, I was recently accepted to write for So I've been a busy little bee.

I've played my fair share of new games this year and I narrowed down what I think is best. I loved Halo 4 and Mass Effect 3 among others.

The new year is looking to be quite promising as well. Let's hope BioShock Infinite isn't delayed again. And GTA V looks amazing, as does Gears of War Judgment.

Maybe video games are growing up. The VGAs weren't wholly embarrassing. And while there was tons of controversy, there was also a lot of great discussions about gender and violence in games. Growing up doesn't mean that games will be stuffy, politically correct bores. What I hope for is that we the gamers can continue to have real discussions about gaming issues. (Even when we think the issues are imagined.) I love gaming culture and in a lot of ways, I'm hopeful about how it has moved forward in 2012.  I also hope that the media focuses more on the positives of gaming and the positive, articulate people involved in gaming.

For me, I hope I will find the time and be able to update my blog more. The last half of 2012 was difficult in few ways and the first part of 2013 looks like it's going to be the same for a bit.    

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pictures of the Link Mosaic

Here are some close-up pictures of the Link Mosaic. My family went to the Nintendo Store over the summer and found me:

I'm near the edge of the mosaic. Here's my son pointing to my pic:

Here's another one:

These pictures are huge and when I tried to upload them in the original size, they ate the whole site. However, I did create an album on photobucket where you can view more pictures of the mosaic in their bigger size. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

How About That Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC?

I'm one of those people who didn't outright hate the original Mass Effect 3 ending that I got. Although once I realized that all the endings were pretty similar, I couldn't help but understand why other people were so upset. As the excitement of not blowing everything to Hell wore off, I also realized there were glaring plot issues. I addressed these in a Mass Effect 3 post back in April.

Now that the Extended Cut DLC has been released, the endings are longer and more detailed. I'm especially happy that they filled in some of the plot holes, like why the Normandy was flying and how my crew I took to Earth survived.  I picked the same option as I did before of destroying the Reapers and there's definitely more information and cutscenes that explain things better. You can even ask the Star Child questions before you pick. There is a new refusal option, which I feel doesn't gel with my Shepard's beliefs. I can't imagine going through all that trouble only to refuse to pick and let the cycle continue.

If you hated the original endings, you probably won't like the extended ones. I still believe BioWare and other developers need to take this fiasco to heart. I hope something like this never happens again, as I still feel endings shouldn't be changed just because of fan pressure. While I can't deny this DLC did provide more closure, it shouldn't have been needed. All this "extended" information should have been there back in March.

More on the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gender Issues, Sex, and Gaming

Once again, gender issues have taken the center stage in gaming.  If I wanted to read every article that's been published on gender issues in gaming in the last week, I'd probably would be stuck in front of a screen for two days straight.

But here's the thing, I do want to read everything written on the issue, especially how other women feel. Mainly because a lot of the articles express a viewpoint I don't understand. Why? I've said it plenty of times before. I can't remember ever being offended by a game. I don't care what characters wear, I don't care if I'm playing as a boy or girl. I would gladly mow down some sexy assassin nuns. I'm currently playing Lollipop Chainsaw. However, most of the articles I see take the stance of "here's why ____ is offensive or sexist."

Sometimes I feel that as a woman who plays video games, that's it's part of my job to constantly be offended. And I'm not doing my part and I don't care to.

A lot of the recent controversy has centered around the new Tomb Raider game. We all saw the Crossroads trailer at E3. Then it was said that the game included a scene of attempted rape. The web exploded with "how dare they include that" type comments. Then it came out the scene's already in the trailer, and to my knowledge, nobody took notice of it before the rape comment surfaced. Now, there a petition to get the scene removed.  Here's exactly what was said and a clip of the scene.

First, I think the petition is ill-informed and a knee jerk reaction. However, there seems to be no way to express my opinion on the site without signing the petition and I'm not going to do that.

Second, rape, sexual assault, and all manner of terrible things are regularly featured in books, TV shows, and movies. If a video game even suggests a scene like that, the world cringes and is offended. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. Hell, even if a consensual sex scene is suggested in a game, some people behave as if the sky is falling.

Third, the game isn't even out yet.  

I'm not offended by the clip. Lara in the game isn't the badass from the older ones. It makes sense to me that she's fighting for her very survival on a hostile island where she kills people and people try to kill her. It's going to be a brutal game, regardless.

While it's important to explore and talk about gaming and gender issues, I think the side of  "not offended female gamer" gets lost. Articles mostly seem to want to talk about controversy, of course. But, I believe there is also a large number of  women gamers who don't have a problem with the content in video games. We just want to play.

I have written a few recent things about gender issues in gaming.

Here's my response to questions about being a female gamer from 

Here's my take on sexism in Resident Evil from New Gamer Nation

Here's Gender vs. Experience from 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

E3 Sony and Nintendo Round-Up

Now that the big three consoles makers have had their conferences, I got to say there were very few moments at this E3 that awed me. That's not to say there wasn't some really cool and interesting games and ideas offered. Here's what Sony and Nintendo had at their conferences:


From the developers of Heavy Rain comes Beyond: Two Souls. I loved Heavy Rain, so I'm excited to play this new game. It's about a girl who has psychic abilities and is being hunted by an agency.  I can't wait to hear more information about it.

The Last of Us. Is there anything more to say? It looks amazing. Although, I heard it's shipping in 2013 instead of 2012.

The All Stars Battle Royale  game. To me, it still looks a lot like Super Smash Bros, but it was announced that a Big Daddy (Bouncer) will be a playable character, so I want it.

God of War Ascension will be released in March 2013.

Wonderbook for Move. I don't know what to think of this. If it wasn't for the fact that JK Rowling made a Books of Spells for it, I probably would have ignored the whole thing. However, I don't have Move, so even if Jo did create a book for it, it better be super awesome in order for me to buy it. I think I'll wait and see. I've never been too impressed by other HP games (except for the Lego ones), so I don't have my hopes up here.

Overall, I think Sony did a good job of showcasing games, more than Microsoft did. The PS3 has some really great looking games coming out.


Everything started out great for Nintendo's conference. Miyamoto was showing Pikmin 3 for the Wii U, but after that, the feeling sort of deflated.

On Sunday Nintendo had a pre-E3 video explaining more about the Wii U. That was helpful and I thought they wouldn't go on and on explaining it again at the conference. But they did anyway.

The best announcement was the the Wii U will support two GamePads. Of course, they didn't talk price yet. I've heard it will be a few weeks or maybe longer before we get prices and a release date.

No word of Zelda anything yet.  I wasn't expecting much, though. But any little mention would have been nice.

The 3DS line-up looks pretty great. Paper Mario and Luigi's Mansion are coming this holiday. I'm totally excited about them. There's also  Scribblenauts, Epic Mickey, and Castlevania games coming for the 3DS.

The Wii U will have games the hardcore crowd has already beaten like Mass Effect 3. Still, it's a step in the right direction. And the Batman Arkham City game has its own "Armored Edition" for the Wii U.  ZombiU looks awesome as hell, though.

There's Nintendo Land which is a themed park with different Nintendo game based mini-games. I'll check it out if it's bundled with the Wii U, but I doubt I will go out of my way to buy it right away if it's not.

My favorite thing about the Wii U is the GamePad. I want one now. I'm hoping it lives up to what is being promised. I can't wait to play Wii U games without needing a TV.

So yes, I still want a Wii U as soon as humanly possible. Nintendo's conference was rather dull, but they still had plenty of great games to show.

Final thought:

You know what really made me weep tears of fangirl joy? The fan-made trailer for Majora's Mask. For the 3DS or Wii U, who knows? Whatever it was looked awesome and I wish it was real.