Final Impressions: Daibanchou – Big Bang Age

daibanchou1As promised, here is my review of Alice Soft’s 2003 eroge RPG Daibanchou: Big Bang Age. I’m honestly not sure why I started playing this game to begin with, but I’m pretty sure it’s because I found an intriguing image of one of the heroines and a little bit of research here and a little more there, and voila, next thing you know I have the English-translated version of the game downloaded on my computer. As a fan of RPGs and cute anime girls, this seemed to be up my alley, even if it did have erotic content. I had played Utawarerumono previously and that game was amazingly fun even though there were sex scenes in it, so I figured I’d give Big Bang Age a try.

I’m glad I did, because even though the game has a really steep learning curve, it was incredibly addictive once I started figuring it all out. So let me do my best to explain why.

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Final Impressions: Deadpool (Video Game)

Deadpool 11 variantAdmittedly I was a bit cautiously optimistic about the Deadpool game when High Moon Studios first announced it. Don’t get me wrong, Deadpool is an awesome character and if anyone deserves their own video game, it’s him. I was just a bit worried that, well, initially that it was just going to be a cheap churned-out cash-grab piece of trash like so many other comic book video games in the past (*cough*Aquaman*cough*). But I was also nervous because I wasn’t sure if a somewhat grating, ultra-violent, borderline-psychotic, somewhat needy, completely batshit-insane, fourth-wall breaking character could do well as the main character in his own video game.

The first thing I want to point out is that this game is Rated M for Mature (17+) and there is certainly a reason for that, so before I get into the meat of the review, a refresher course on the character of Deadpool is probably in order since the nature of his personality has much to do with that rating as well as the mileage the player will get out of the game. For the sake of the game, here’s what you need to know:

Deadpool, real name Wade Wilson, was born in Canada and was a mercenary before being diagnosed with cancer. He was enrolled in the Weapon X program, the same program that gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton, and was given Wolverine’s healing factor which keeps his cancer at bay and makes him virtually unkillable; it unfortunately had the side-effect of rendering his body hideously scarred due to the accelerated growth of his cancerous tumors, which is why he constantly wears a mask. Considered something of a failure, he was ejected from the Weapon X program and entered into the Hospice, a government facility where failed superhuman operatives were treated. It was also where patients secretly underwent sadistic experiments, with patients placing bets in a “deadpool” as to how long each patient would survive. Not exactly of sound mind to begin with, these experiments helped crack Wilson’s insanity even further, and during his near-death experiences during the experiments, he found his romantic kindred spirit in the cosmic entity Death, the female embodiment of the taker of souls, as the name implies. His affair with Death would also catch the attention of Thanos, who has something of an obsession with Death himself, and thus he made him immortal so that the two could never be together, thus eliminating Wade as a rival. Escaping the Hospice, Wilson took the name Deadpool and became a mercenary for hire.

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Final Impressions: Tomb Raider (2013)

tomb-raider-lara-croft-bow-and-arrow

Given that this is the third blog entry I’ve written about Lara Croft, it almost feels like I should just make this a Tomb Raider themed blog from this point on. I’m kidding, of course, but the amount of words I’ve dedicated to the ass-kicking video game heroine are certainly well beyond my expectations.

Which leads to Lara Croft’s latest outing, the rebooted origin tale Tomb Raider, a game which anyone who read my previous blog about the subject would have guessed that I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near with a 10-foot pole. Admittedly, I didn’t have any intention of doing so, but some of the sterling reviews I had seen definitely carried a lot of weight, though I think the Conan O’Brien Clueless Gamer video was the thing that put it over the edge into the “must have” category (if you haven’t seen it yet, do so now!).

So before I get into whether the game lived up to the hype and the nitty-gritty details of the game, let’s deal with the controversy that I blogged about before: the victimization of Lara Croft thing. As a refresher, Crystal Dynamics executive producer Ron Rosenberg had stated that the savage islanders attempt to rape Lara and that becomes the impetus for her ‘fight or die’ transformation. Additionally, he also alluded to the fact that male players especially would feel like they are her helpers more than they would identify with Lara, which sounded a wee bit chauvinistic. I had said at the time that my hope was that all of the controversy was based solely on what was said and not what was actually within the game’s context, and for the most part that thankfully appeared to be the case.

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Permadeath: To Continue Or Not To Continue?

you are dead

That is the question that many developers are asking themselves…

I recently read an article (“In These Games, Death Is Forever, and That’s Awesome”) on Wired.com focusing on the idea of permanent death for video game characters, and I found that the notion was intriguing enough to warrant some discussion. Yes, even if that discussion is solely with myself.

For those of you who didn’t bother to click the link above, the gist of the article is that there are several video game developers starting to toy with the concept of a permanent death for the player character, whereby once that character is dead, he/she cannot be used again and the player must continue the game with a whole new character. So, for example, any weapons, items and abilities, or even the connection the player has established with their main character will be completely eliminated if the character were to die. The player would then have to establish a new bond with a new character. Items previously gained would only be able to be recovered by visiting the place where the previous character died, if at all.

It also felt like the article really tried to emphasize how awesome this idea is. It was actually the “awesome” part in the title that inspired my blog, as otherwise I might have just read the article, noted that it was an interesting premise and moved on. But it was that descriptor that gave me pause for consideration, because while the idea of permanent death in video games is an intriguing one, I’m not certain I would classify it as “awesome.” I can see a few pros to the concept in action, but I see far more cons or potential stumbling blocks to making it a logistical or mainstream reality.

So it was with that thought in mind that I opted to blog about the good, the bad and the ugly of what will from here on out be referred to as permadeath.

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Final Impressions: Resident Evil 6

Disclaimer: Please note that this post will be chock full of SPOILER-y goodness. Proceed at your own peril.

I finally finished Capcom’s Resident Evil 6, and given the ups and downs the series has seen in the last few years, I figured providing my impressions of the game would make for a good blog post. I’ve played through all of the campaigns, once as each playable character, as well as testing out some of the extras the game has to offer, so I feel I’ve explored much of the content involved.

For a little perspective on my background with the Resident Evil series, I didn’t fully jump in until I played Resident Evil 4. I was never really a survival-horror genre fan (never been a fan of horror in general) so the first several games never piqued my interest enough to pick them up.

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Misogyny Has No Place In Geek Culture

Or anywhere, for that matter.

It hadn’t been my intention to wade into the realm of misogyny, sexism or anti-feminist troll attacks that have unfortunately continued to pop up and linger despite the decades that have lapsed since the women’s rights movement was won, but it seems like I can’t check my twitter feed without regularly reading about some misogynistic asshole or some group or convention that has tolerated or flat-out endorsed bigotry or sexual harassment of its female members. While I am appalled that this happens everywhere and with every genre grouping, I find it particular offensive that it seems to happen so often in the geek realm, especially given that the stigma that comes from being a “geek” or “nerd” should make us more inclusive, not the other way around. If there’s one group that should understand the negative impact bullying can have on a person, it’s geek culture, so for any so called “geek” or “nerd” to engage in the bullying or intentional discomfiture of others, especially our own members, is downright reprehensible.

Given that the anonymity of the internet creates a breeding ground for hate and trolls, it seems as though you can’t skip a virtual stone across the internet without it ricocheting off porn and hitting a story or comment thread full of this vile misogyny.

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Lara Croft Needs Your Protection Because She’s A Woman

Wow, given that I lost interest in Tomb Raider after the 2nd outing, I never thought I’d write a single blog post about Lara Croft, let alone two within a few months of each other. The first one was simply incidental because the game played into my topic, but I had no plan for a repeat Lara Croft cameo. That is, until I saw this article on Kotaku the other day entitled You’ll ‘Want To Protect’ The New, Less Curvy Lara Croft and found myself simply appalled.

Essentially, in the article, Crystal Dynamics executive producer Ron Rosenberg was explaining how the Lara Croft we see in the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot will be different from the Lara Croft we’re accustomed to. As the article states:

In the past, Lara Croft didn’t need protecting. She was a fearless daredevil, a crack shot in short shorts with enough attitude to scare off a pack of bloodthirsty gorillas. But in the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, things will be different. She hasn’t become that woman yet.

As anyone who has played a Tomb Raider game knows, and as Mr. Rosenberg himself states in the quote above, Lara Croft has always been a very empowered female lead, facing down wolves, bats, crocodiles, thugs and even T-Rexes without batting an eyelash. She’s fearless, tenacious, confident and highly skilled. She’s essentially the female equivalent of Indiana Jones, only with less bullwhip and underage womanizing. Lara Croft has never needed a man on her adventures to protect her or get her out of a jam; if anything it’s the other way around when a male character is involved.

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