Opinion – Life is Strange: Before the Storm Is The Queer Love Story I’ve Always Wanted In A Game

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Opinion – Life is Strange: Before the Storm Is The Queer Love Story I’ve Always Wanted In A Game

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the first Life is Strange and for The Last of Us' DLC Left Behind.

Life is Strange dug its hooks in me with a genuine and heartfelt tale. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between its two teenage protagonists Max and Chloe blossom. Their connection is magnetic, and I often felt a spark between them. In one scene, I had the choice to let Max kiss Chloe. In another, they swam in an indoor pool at night time, speaking earnestly about the positive influence they have on one another. While I enjoyed these moments, I kept waiting and hoping for this intimacy to progress – but it never did in a satisfying way.

Life is Strange insinuated that there was something more than friendship between its main characters. Some choices allowed you to superficially explore that intimacy, but it was never addressed narratively. As a gay woman, I find this frustrating, because I would love to see more canonically queer ladies in video games.

Nier’s Yoko Taro On Success, Drinking, And Death

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Nier’s Yoko Taro On Success, Drinking, And Death

Photo credit: Andrew Faulk

Best known for directing the Nier and Drakengard series, Yoko Taro reached a new level of success after teaming up with Platinum Games for Nier: Automata, which sold over two million copies. We chatted with Taro about his newfound success and what's next. Just like his esoteric games, our talk was anything but ordinary.

Editor's Note: A portion of this interview appeared in issue #296. This is an extended version.

Digital Intimacy: How Recent Video Games Tackle Sexuality

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Digital Intimacy: How Recent Video Games Tackle Sexuality

This feature was first published in Game Informer Magazine issue 286, and includes major spoilers for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Telltale’s Batman, and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

In 2005, controversy erupted when the PC version of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas released. The GTA series is no stranger to negative media attention, often looked down upon for its crude and juvenile themes. This time, the public was taken aback by sexual minigames hidden in the game’s code. These minigames depicted protagonist Carl “CJ” Johnson performing sexual acts with his chosen in-game girlfriend, with each move and action in the bedroom under the player’s control. Though inaccessible to the average player, some were skilled enough with game code to reveal its contents, creating a mod called Hot Coffee that enabled these hidden scenes.

Take A Look At Hot Toys' Amazing The Last Jedi Praetorian Guards

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Take A Look At Hot Toys' Amazing The Last Jedi Praetorian Guards

None of the trailers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi have given us a look at Supreme Leader Snoke's crimson protectors, the praetorian guards, yet toy manufacturers can't stop pumping them out. Hot Toys has gone all in on these mysterious warriors, offering fans enough parts and helmets to create the entire lineup that will supposedly be lining the walls of Snoke's throne room.

These figures retail for $205 each, and are scheduled to ship between July and September 2018. Although you'll want six guards to create the scenes shown, the praetorian guard only ship in two versions. Each of these figures ships with multiple helmets, hands, and weapons, allowing for the entire lineup to be created.

The praetorian guards' weapons are different than we've seen in Star Wars, favoring old-school blades and whips over anything suitable for long-range affairs. You can pre-order the figures now, but I would hold off on buying them until you watch the movie in December. They look cool and deadly, but how much screen time will they actually get? Here's hoping they serve more of a purpose than Emperor Palpatine's royal guards did in the original and prequel trilogies.

10 Under 10: The Best Short Games Of 2017

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10 Under 10: The Best Short Games Of 2017

This year has delivered an abundance of excellent, massive gaming experiences. You can easily lose yourself for days in titles like Persona 5, Horizon Zero Dawn, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But if you don’t have dozens of hours to sink into a digital world, 2017 also has a fantastic selection of quality games with less daunting commitments. 

We’ve singled out 10 of the best games of 2017 that clock in at 10 hours or less. These are still complete and engrossing titles – they just require a smaller time investment.

What Remains of Edith Finch Estimated time to finish: 3 hours
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC (review)
This narrative-focused experience from developer Giant Sparrow follows a young woman named Edith as she explores her eccentric family’s house. With novel gameplay moments and storytelling techniques, players see the world through the eyes of different Finches through the years – and witness the bizarre fate that awaits them all.

Nine Things Super Mario Odyssey Takes From Sonic

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Nine Things Super Mario Odyssey Takes From Sonic

Super Mario Odyssey is one of the best games to come out this year, but if you're a long-time player of Sonic the Hedgehog like I am, you may have noticed a few familiar elements as you're traveling through the kingdoms, capturing everything in sight. Check out the totally legitimate list of things I noticed Mario lifting from the Sonic series in his latest adventure.

Be warned: There are some spoilers to Super Mario Odyssey below.

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The Top 10 Sphinxes Of 2017

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The Top 10 Sphinxes Of 2017

The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the world’s most recognizable pieces of art. It’s stood vigil in Egypt for thousands of years, and its missing nose has been a reliable cartoon punchline for at least a few of those decades. While it’s appeared in countless video games over the years, the iconic statue – and the mythological creature that shares its name – has been particularly commonplace in 2017. Just as 2012 was referred to as the Year of the Bow thanks to the weapon's ubiquity in games like Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed III, and Far Cry 3, we’re ready to call this the Year of the Sphinx. Need evidence? Read on!

Editor’s note: The following Sphinxes do not appear in any ranking or order. Please do not consider the individual placement of a Sphinx to carry any significance in perceived quality or importance. Also, please do not cast any mummy curses on us. 

Game Informer’s Holiday Buying Guide 2017

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Game Informer’s Holiday Buying Guide 2017

It always feels good to give and to receive, but nothing feels worse than giving or receiving the wrong gift. To help you out this year, we compiled a roundup of the best geek-related toys and tech this holiday season. Get out your pens; you’re going to want to circle some stuff.

[Full Disclosure: GameStop is the parent company of both Game Informer and ThinkGeek]

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Champion ­Amiibos | $15.99 (Each)

Opinion – Give Me More Weird Masterpieces Like Nier: Automata

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Opinion – Give Me More Weird Masterpieces Like Nier: Automata

2017 has been absolutely mad in terms of quality game releases. The Legend of Zelda; Breath Of The Wild, Resident Evil 7, Super Mario Odyssey, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Yakuza 0, Horizon Zero Dawn, and so on. However, the game my mind has been jumping back to the most this year is Nier: Automata, a game about androids waging a proxy war with robots on a devastated Earth. In the absence of humans, these androids have no guidance for their emotions, nothing to help them understand sexual longing, despair, and the trials of friendship. Also, it's a game where you get to run around and slice through robots with a giant katana, so that's nice.

Why You Get Stuck In Games, And What You Can Do About It

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Why You Get Stuck In Games, And What You Can Do About It

This article originally appeared in issue 294 of Game Informer magazine.

Anyone who plays video games has at least one “duh” moment to their name. We beat our heads against bosses for half an hour before realizing we’re supposed to lose the fight. We search every nook and cranny of a dungeon for a key to an unlocked door. Because of their interactive nature, even the most linear games are prone to grinding halts whenever a player misses a crucial cue, a developer sends conflicting signals about what to do, or both.

This common problem highlights how closely game design intersects with psychology. Psychologists have been studying games, problem-solving, and cognition for years to more firmly grasp what’s going on in our brains when we get stuck.