I haven’t even played Infamous: Second Son yet, and I ALREADY FEEL THE PAIN!!! Keep an eye on this most marvelous of recent internet creations for an extensive catalogue of Troy Baker faces, voices, and feeeeeeelings.
In other Troy Baker news:
I previously had very little-to-no interest in playing Shadow of Mordor, but Felicia Day really knows how to sell me on it.
Game designer and Gamervescent friend Cameron Kunzelman, creator of Alpaca Run and Catachresis, is working on a brand-new mindfuck of an experience for us all: Epanalepsis. The gameplay will largely eschew puzzlin’ and shooting people in the face in favor of a point-and-click focus on narrative, and the three intertwining stories sound AWESOME:
In 1993, Rachel moves to an apartment in a run-down building on a run-down block. She goes to the same bar every day. She sees Vanessa every day. She sees the streets changing, new groups moving in and out, but sometimes it seems like something is peeking out of the shadows. Other times, when she’s asleep, she meets someone from long ago in a forest.
In 2013, Anthony is living in an apartment in part of town that’s just past trendy. Every day he sees old signs come down only to be replaced by chain restaurants that caters to the families who turned the gritty apartments into concrete-reinforced condos. He works in his office. He comes home. He plays his games. Sometimes he has a coffee to break up the monotony. He dreads when the sun goes down.
In 2033, the city has sprawled up into the sky. Megastructures have sprouted, casting long shadows over the apartment buildings that have now become fortresses. The city is a cyberpunk hellscape where the black market enhancement dealers avoid the private police corps who protect the growing “Lower City tourism” trade. Signals scatter through the streets, and those with their finger to the datapulse keep feeling like they’re missing something.
Game designer and cat-loving wizard Cameron Kunzelman has read over a decade’s worth of back issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly and compiled a selection of advertisements, reviews, letters to the editor, and so forth at Reading EGM. It’s alternately bizarre, hilarious, and heartbreaking to peruse the collection of games writing articles and artifacts; the roots of today’s oft-toxic “gamer culture” are readily apparent throughout. Some personal favorites:
It was not cathartic. It was not at all “satisfying” in any measure that would typically cause me to apply that term to a game—no questions answered, no loose ends tied up. It was a game about not knowing, a game about things that cannot be comprehended by the human mind, a game about problems with no solutions, a way too scary game. Continue reading Catachresis→
I was very excited to hear about the impending Halloween release of “CATHARSIS,” the latest “trip” from hard rock game designer Cameron Kunzelman.
So basically in ages past, a corrupt mage named Garm used a set of Runestones to summon a demon named Skorne. However, Skorne crushed Garm and imprisoned his soul in the Underworld. Skorne, fearing the power of the Runestones, scattered them throughout the four realms, so that they could never be used against him. So in comes Jeff, the cleanup guy. His job is simple: kill Skorne. The Runestones don’t matter.
Inspirations for Alpaca Run include: the Soundplay series that Kill Screen sponsored, the Bit Trip Runner games, running alpacas, and the feeling of absolute joy you have when you embody a jumping alpaca.
Notably, there isn’t a fail state in Alpaca Run. I want everyone to complete it. I want everyone to have a fun journey and to get to listen to a cool song without failing over and over again.
I died 27 times on my first playthrough, and still have a persistent case of the giggles. (Note: giggling madly does not do much to improve alpaca leap timing, does result in falling off of cliffs.) Leaping alpacas, man, they really can’t help but brighten your day. Go give it a try!
The Sexism in Gaming panel did, as predicted, kick major ass! Panelist Samantha Allen wrote a brief post about it for The Border House (which I will lazily link to here, since she said everything I want to say about it and said it well), and you can listen to an audio recording of the entire discussion on YouTube (embedded below). There’s no video, but if you picture Samantha being graceful and composed, Kat as Lara Croft, Cameron looking like a bearded silent film villain, and me making a lot of extravagant hand gestures, it’ll be just like being present for the session. Go give it a listen!
Hi there, beautiful people! If you will be in or around northeast Tennessee tomorrow, you should come see me, Kat, Samantha Allen, and Cameron Kunzelman tackle a bunch of questions about sexism in video games and gaming culture for East Tennessee State University’s first anime/comic convention. It’s going to kick a lot of ass! Check out the event’s FB page for more details.
Got a question(s) for the panel? Shoot it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to answer within the time limit.
Look forward to seeing you there! And BONUS, for all those who can’t come due to geographical inconvenience: look forward to a massive post (or two, or three) on Gamervescent in the coming weeks to discuss some of the material in further detail.