Tag Archives: video games

Too Busy; Didn’t Play: THE BANNER SAGA

Hi! My name is Kevin Copenhaver and one of the few things I love more than video games is key lime pie. (That, however, has nothing to do with this article, I just really love it. ) I also love telling my fiancée how awesome games I played are. I usually do this with crazy-eyed stares and ridiculous run-on sentences. This got me to thinking: shouldn’t EVERYONE be able to experience my love of games the same way she does? Doesn’t each and every man, woman, child, animal, sea monster, dragon, and sting chameleon deserve to have a game summed up for them in one long, run-on sentence that manages to stay below 500 words?  

Say you are at a party and everyone starts talking about a game—that unsettling feeling that sets in when you realize you are the ONLY person who hasn’t played it. You start to sweat as they tell tales of woe and bosses you’ve never even heard of. Your stomach starts to churn; your vision blurs. You cannot even figure out what genre the game is! As you start panting and convulsing on the floor your friends laugh and begin kicking you, gaily chanting, “You’ve never played Vagrant Story, you’ve never played Vagrant Story!” and, “You even game, brah(-sephina)?!” Moments like that ruin lives.  

Sometimes life is unfair and these stupid “responsibilities” get in the way of the important things like gaming, and eating. These recaps will save you from a lifetime of humiliation. You may not have played the game, you may not even understand the finer details, but if you stick it out for 500 words or less, you will at least be able to pretend you know what you are talking about.  

And now, for our first installment…

Too Busy; Didn’t Play: THE BANNER SAGA

The Banner Saga Continue reading

Let’s Talk About Video Game Know-It-Alls

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Before I met my heterosexual life partner, I had one of those 5-day Internet flirtations with some dude on OKCupid. I was still living in that post-BioShock Infinite glow where anybody who wanted to talk about BioShock Infinite could talk to me. So, when he had a come-on like, “Hey, you like BioShock Infinite? I like BioShock Infinite! Let’s text and stuff,” I was like, “YEAH, SEXY GUY. COME TALK TO ME.”

But that flirtation was destined to be short-lived. Why? Because he was a “video game know-it-all.”

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Reading EGM

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:

YOU CAN BE THE VELOCIRAPTOR

Top Ten Coolest Video Game Heroes Continue reading

A “The Last of Us” Review I Meant to Write Months Ago and Now Can’t Remember the Details For

The Last of Us

Several months ago I  had the opportunity to play through The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic game developed by Naughty Dog. If you haven’t played this game, you really should and soon. Why? I can’t remember because I played it months ago and forgot to tell you about it then, but trust me when I say it’s worth your time.

OH MY GOD! At the beginning of the game, something HUGE happens. If memory serves, it’s terrifying, and you spend a lot of time biting your nails and screaming in terror as you try to navigate through some stuff that has totally slipped my mind. Was it a car crash? Were some guys chasing me? I CAN’T REMEMBER. But it’s possible that both those things happened, and you would be a total idiot to not play that game and re-live the experience that I can no longer remember.

I recollect that I spent a lot of time in hiding, scrounging for ammo and tools to help me along my path to wherever I was going. I seem to remember shooting guys and throwing bombs and running away and running away some more. But it’s possible that all these months later, I’m mixing The Last of Us up with another game, and it was really one of those puzzle games where you swap candies until you can’t anymore and then pay your phone 99 cents for more turns.

Now, maybe at some point the Joker showed up as well, but I can’t verify that at this time, as I’m also trying to write a review of Arkham Asylum.

In short, if you like running away from clicking zombies, throwing bombs, shooting stuff, voice actresses that aren’t Ellen Page, brooding main characters who make questionable moral decisions, a pretty engrossing storyline that I can no longer remember, and possibly the Joker, The Last of Us is for you.

 

Bethany Bryan writes funny things at Welcome to Bethville! and xoJane.

Halo 4: Tutorial Time

Previously, Joe Culp‘s Game Tours: Halo 4, Part 1 & Part 2

Starting off:

Environmental concept art is a type of developmental painting used in video game production as a way for painters to visualize the ideas of the creative team. If it weren’t for these great painters in the industry, then there would be no unified vision to lead the increasingly complex demands of modern level design. The production team would be doomed, dead in the water; their game would start looking cheesy and ill-designed. This would be all right if we were still in the 90s, or if a “generic fantasy anime” look was the goal, but we are dealing with 2013 AAA gaming! By now concept artists of all stripe have found an important and greatly romanticized role in the video game industry.

So, at the end of my last “game tour” of Halo 4 I said that I would take what I learned about the level design and reverse engineer some mock concept art out of it. What an absurd idea, concept art fan art! Really I just wanted to paint a laser floor.

Here is what I came up with (click for embiggening):

what I came up with Continue reading

Sexism in Video Games at ETSUcon

"Video games are only for very cool boys," he said before being beaten to death. –Cameron Kunzelman

“Video games are only for very cool boys,” he said before being beaten to death.
–Cameron Kunzelman

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!

Sexism in Video Games Panel

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 etsusivgpanel@gmail.com 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.

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Physicist Jedi Space Marine Princess Badass

You guys, I cannot BELIEVE that I have not posted something about Jennifer Hale, queen of voice acting, on Gamervescent yet. I suppose I talk about Jennifer Hale’s amazingness so much in my day-to-day life, I just assumed I had already discussed the topic here. It’s high time to rectify this grave omission.

Jennifer Hale

Not only is Jennifer Hale the incredible voice of FemShep (best voice acting performance in a video game ever, yes?), Naomi Hunter AND E.E. in Metal Gear Solid, Cinderella in Kingdom Hearts, Samus Aran in the GameCube-era Metroid games, Bastila Shan in KotOR—basically, you’ve heard the woman’s voice at some point in everything, go spend hours scrolling through her IMDb page—I just now learned that she provided the voice for my favorite character in BioShock Infinite: Rosalind Lutece.

Game Trailers posted a wonderful interview with her and Oliver Vacquer, who voiced Robert Lutece, today. Go watch it! And then bow down before Jennifer Hale, because although we are not worthy, she continues to grace us with the dulcet tones of her amazingly versatile voice.

Video Game High School

My friend Lauren made a beautiful, magnificent late-night discovery on Netflix last week: Video Game High School. Rocket Jump Studios describes it as “a show about best friends, first loves, and finding that perfect head shot,” but I think they fail to do it justice with that tagline. What it is, you guys, is the funniest thing I have ever seen.

The Law

I really cannot praise it enough. VGHS is Arrested Development-level funny, the-episode-of-Parks & Rec-where-everyone-gets-trashed-on-Snake-Juice-and-Ron-Swanson-dances funny…for gamers. If you have some familiarity with online multiplayer games and the people who play them, if you’ve ever nailed a headshot or mashed buttons on a plastic guitar peripheral or challenged some punk to a Mortal Kombat duel, this show will kill you right dead. As Lauren pointed out when we began watching, we know these characters in our own lives. The writing is impeccable; almost every other sentence is a joke and nearly each one lands dead on target. We laughed so hard watching that we had to put the subtitles on to avoid missing dialogue, and still rewound repeatedly to catch particular turns of phrase. I haven’t been able to stop quoting it since.

And the acting… The acting is great all ’round, from the main characters to small cameo roles, but The Law (Brian Firenzi, one of the show’s writers, pictured in the sweet red sunglasses above) deserves special mention. I have never seen anyone embody the concept of “douchebag” with the skill and panache of this man. His performance is truly awe-inspiring—and gut-busting.

You can check out the trailer below, but like the show’s description, it can’t really do this masterpiece justice. Don’t Brian D your future, man; stop whatever you’re doing right now and watch VGHS. You can catch it in episodic form online here, or watch the first season as a feature-length movie on Netflix.