Games for Girls: The Importance of Amnesia

Recently, something with a potentially important impact on my life has occurred. No, it’s not the announcement of the final Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC (although I am literally still screaming from the PAX trailer, and will be until it comes out on the 8th), but it does have to do with video games.

As many of us in the gaming sphere are well aware of by this point, the culture surrounding video games isn’t always welcoming to its ladies, both in and outside of the games themselves. From lady characters getting shafted in the name of more male exposure (re: Ubi’s ignoring of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate’s Evie at E3) to pathetic attempts to silence the ever-growing voice of the female gaming community, there’s a lot of shit to sift through. Arguably, progress has been made over the last decade, but I think the recent release of a certain game on Steam could be a sign of even more positive progress in the inclusion of lady gamers. Last week, otome game fans rejoiced as Idea Factory was finally able to release a fully translated version of their game, Amnesia: Memories.

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Dom Reviews: Crypt Of the Necrodancer

Anyone who knows me knows that music and video games are two of my favorite things. They also know that I’m a sucker for female protagonists. So when I first heard about Crypt of the Necrodancer, a rhythm-based rougelike from Brace Yourself Games, I knew it was something I would be interested in. The game was in Early Access (a work in progress on Steam) for a while, but was completely released on April 23rd, so I figured this’d be a good time to give it a full review.

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Flirting With Danger in Undertale

Even though I’m not an avid gamer, my brother always keeps me up-to-date with any indie games he finds interesting. The newest game he’s told me about is called Undertale. Unfortunately it’s still in development at the moment, but you can play the demo to get an idea of what the game will be like. There are numerous reasons I’m excited for this game, one of them being the lack of detail to the main protagonist. There’s a unique gameplay that allows you to fight or befriend characters, and the style of the game is very reminiscent of other games like Earthbound. Everything about this game is precious; I’ve even re-watched the trailer video to death at this point:

Spoilers ahead! Seriously though, check out the demo, it’s free!

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Diversity Blooming In Future Game Title

There hasn’t been much to look forward to in terms of short-term releases in the hideously underwhelming selection of launch titles for the Xbox One and PS4. However, the future just keeps getting brighter and brighter, and not just for graphics and processor capabilities. This new video gaming era seems to also be a new era of inclusiveness within the medium itself.

Bloom Concept ArtBack in December, developers at Studio Fawn met the goal for their Kickstarter to fund their game Bloom: Memories, a fantasy adventure RPG taking its cues from games like Fable and The Legend of Zelda. Additionally, the game managed to get Greenlit on Steam as well, already ensuring the game’s exposure to a wide PC gaming audience. But what drew people to this game so readily and excitedly?

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Games for Girls: Hanako Games and Why Long Live the Queen Is Important

Just before I could start complaining about not having any games to play—a common complaint of a gamer, and hardly ever true—my girlfriend was kind enough to purchase the PC game Long Live the Queen for me. Let me tell you right now: this game is fucking difficult. It’s not just me being bad at the game, though I’m far from an expert; rather, Long Live the Queen takes some serious planning to get anywhere substantial.

Upon reflection, the thing I’m more surprised by is that I didn’t expect it to be difficult, or at least as difficult as it ended up being. This was a three-fold problem of misconception: knowing the game developer, knowing the type of game, and, due to the previous two, some unfairly lowered standards on my part. If you hold some of these same misconceptions, allow me to help alleviate them now; this game and this developer honestly deserve a lot of credit—much more than many would give them right off the bat.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Project REDWOOD

This week a momentous event occurred: Deadly Premonition got greenlit on Steam—a process in which Steam users vote on (usually) independently made games, the ones receiving the highest amount of votes actually being released on Steam—and is now available to an entirely new generation of gamers in all of its off-kilter glory. Usually the act of being greenlit is saved for indie games that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance of seeing the light of day, so when people say that maybe Deadly Premonition didn’t deserve this status (as it had already been released on a major console and was produced by Marvelous, a rather well known company) they… may have a point. But fie on them! Fie, I say! The more people that are allowed to experience this enigma of a game, the better—especially if they get a chance to experience the strange workings of producer SWERY’s mind before the release of his new game on the next gen systems. To celebrate the further spread of Deadly Premonition’s tale of murder and mystery, I went in search of some fanfiction, not exactly certain of what I’d find.

Deadly PremonitionI don’t know why I’m still surprised when fanfiction exists for even the most obscure of things—although truth be told there wasn’t a lot of it—but the fanfiction for this game gave off the impression of the small town in which the game takes place: a close-knit group of people drawn together by something mysterious. Of course, I’m just projecting at this point, but let me have my fun. Out of all of the stories, one of them immediately caught my eye with its name and the sheer ambition of the project. Yes, project. Project REDWOOD, to be exact. Author Animagess may quite possibly be insane, but they have taken it upon themself to, in their words from the summary, do a “full-length retelling of the entire game, in novel form”. This isn’t the first time a game has been re-written in prose format, but the sheer scope of the trial in front of them… no matter how terrible the writing could be, the dedication is truly something to marvel at.

Now I know some of you are scratching your heads at how this could possibly be any more difficult than any other game selected at random. If someone were to novelize the .Hack games, I’m sure they’d run into similar issues, namely the complexity in the story itself and parsing through the details to find what’s important and what’s not. However, as opposed to .Hack, the writing in Deadly Premonition is not good. The best way to describe the game—outside of its lackluster frame rate and controls—is a less skillfully written Twin Peaks, as much of the game’s plot is essentially plagiarized from the 90’s show. Yes, this is a game that was greenlit simply due to the fact that people, such as myself, enjoy terrible things. Think of this game as the Birdemic of video games: a game with a good concept, but horrible execution.

What this is doing in a horror game, we'll never know. (art by Gil @ Game Yay Fun)

What this is doing in a horror-mystery game, we’ll never know. (art by Gil @ Game Yay Fun)

But I digress. Animagess seems completely up to the task to reformatting the story to be comprehensible and maybe even a little less stupid. To my surprise, their writing style is very good, very readable, and the pacing really helps make the story seem like an actual murder mystery rather than a jumbled mess of random cut-scenes and mood-ruining music. At fifty-two chapters, they really seemed dedicated to their cause as well. Seemed. Unfortunately, and to the dismay of several reviewers, Project REDWOOD has not been updated (at least on fanfiction.net) for two years. I can understand that such a project would be incredibly draining on a person, and expecting someone who’s doing this as a hobby to complete the entire game is a perhaps setting one’s expectations too high. Animagess, if by some amazing twist of fate you are reading this article, I would love you to continue working on this project of yours. For everyone else, if you want to get a taste of the strangeness of Deadly Premonition without playing the game yourself or watching a let’s play of it, Project REDWOOD is a fantastic place to start your descent into madness and the mystery of the red seed killer.