Thursday, December 22, 2016

Weekly Link Round Up

Starting early this week, as there are a bevy of interesting articles on the net this round. Less silly and more thought-provoking.  This usually does not happen in December. It's a sea of "Top 10 Games of the Year" lists with a hidden golden nugget or two. But today proved to be an exceptional day to share the gaming news of the internet. Here's what you can catch up on:

- eSports wants more women involved. But we all know that's a big hurdle to overcome given the current climate. Publishers like Bandai Namco Entertainment want to foster a healthier community so that all genders can get into eSports. Read that as: more people = more revenue. They are creating more female only and male/female tournaments to bring in fresh faces. It's baby steps to try and overcome decades-worth of gender disparity in the gaming world. This New York Times article gives healthy insight into the growing realm of eSports for women.

- GQ Magazine interviewed Michael Fassbender (the lead in the AssCreed movie) and the actor knows how much is on the line for this production. It's not just another big budget Winter movie.

"I'm aware [sic] because every single article that's ever written about us asks, 'Will Assassin's Creed be the first successful video game-to-movie?'"

Fassbender, who is not a gamer, opened up on how he interprets the AssCreed franchise and his growing roll in developing, and promoting the film.

- Game Developer Brianna Wu is planning to run for U.S. Congress in 2018. That's the rumor, and while it's not officially confirmed, her Twitter and Facebook feeds pretty much solidify it with the images she's posted. If Wu sounds familiar, look up anything involving GamerGate and you'll find her name all over the place. She's been one of the primary targets of the anti-women in gaming movement (sorry kids, you all can say it's really about news reporting and video games, but we all know better), and speaks out against harassment in the gaming world. She's ready for the Democratic party to take a new direction, and will bring in cyberharassment and revenge porn legal experts onto her team.

“The reason I decided to run is simple: [D]rump[f] is, terrifyingly, now in the White House. I can’t sit by making pleasant video game distractions for the next four years while the constitution is under assault.”

- People are freaking out that Overwatch's Tracer character is gay. For reasons that make no sense to the sane part of the world. Blizzard/Activision has been releasing digital comics to provide more backstory to their legendary heroes. This month's Christmas theme shows Tracer giving a gift to her girlfriend. Though some people may dislike it, some of us really don't care and just want you to deliver the payload. Or you can be like this guy and theorize that all gay people can teleport. Can someone verify this?

- Chris Suellentrop, former editor of The New York Times Op-Ed wrote a piece about Super Mario Run. It's not a game he and his family will play because of gender politics. This article will raise a few eyebrows and probably result in some face palming, but take a few minutes to read it before you jump to conclusions. I'm a Mario fan as well as the next gamer. I get that the tried-and-true trope of saving the princess in the castle is worn out. Mario could use an update to his story, but is it as bad as Suellentrop makes it out to be? Does Mario have a lack of representation of other genders in it's media? Do they pigeonhole content too often? I think that might be a bit of a stretch given how inclusive the Nintendo brand is. When they develop their characters and stories it's not about putting in a "female option" to garner more attention. They create characters that have showcase some importance to the story. Otherwise, why have them at all? Food for thought today with this article.

Tabletop games brought Star Wars back from the dead! If you did a double take at that statement, you are not alone. I grew up with Star Wars. I was born after the original movies were released, but we owned the lazerdisc (heh, lazer) and VHS versions. We would watch the trilogy every Thanksgiving and Christmas on television. I went to the opening of the three Prequels and will still watch all 6 movies on TBS whenever they pop on for the weekend. But I was also a fan of the Expanded Universe and became more involved in it in the 90's through books and the graphic novels. While I thought that Star Wars was always on the conscious of the public, in the late 80's the movies were nearing the end of their lifecycle.

After 1983, no other content was being produced for the film franchise. The toys were seeing a drop in sales as kids began to grow up and newer fads appeared (damn you Cabbage Patch Kids). Yet in 1987 a group of people cobbled together the story notes from George Lucas for other parts of the Star Wars galaxy and created a tabletop game that became the origin for the Expanded Universe. This is a long article and best for a lunchtime read-there's your warning.

- Finally, the NieR demo is out today. The second I get home I will be downloading and streaming it from my PS4...assuming it'll let me and there are no network issues. I don't think I've been this excited for a new release since, ever? The first NieR title was full of physical and emotional turmoil. There were times where I wondered why I subjected myself to the game, and remember how incredible the story was that it was worth it. I hope NieR: Automata does the same.


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