Five Games That Find Drama In Realism

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Five Games That Find Drama In Realism

Life is boring. At least, compared to video games it is. But there’s a certain allure to the mundanity of life, and a romanticism found in meaningful conversations. There’s comfort in the quieter moments where we find ourselves in-between responsibilities. You may find tension in the silent moments after a loss, a darker intention behind a conversation that once seemed innocent, and a weight in making a choice.

As it often does, art imitates life, and a few games have dipped their toes in these themes. Mechanics are stripped away to be replaced by mundanity, quietness, or an evening that starts well and ends horribly. Here are a few of those games and what makes them special.

Freshman YearMoving to a new city isn’t easy. For young Nina, it was a nightmare. A student and new resident to New York, your time with Nina in Freshman Year starts innocently enough: you answer texts from a friend about going out while choosing what Nina is going to wear. You have no reason to expect the night holds anything but good times, except for the ominous warning that rests under the window of the browser game: “Please be aware that this game depicts scenarios that may be distressing to people who have experienced abuse.”

We Take A Look Inside The Quirky Worlds And Exciting Heists Of Blendo Games

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We Take A Look Inside The Quirky Worlds And Exciting Heists Of Blendo Games

Last week, indie developer Blendo Games released Quadrilateral Cowboy, a hacking-based puzzle adventure long in development, and I kind of fell in love with it. Quadrilateral Cowboy isn't Blendo Games' first title, however. The developer has been releasing strange, often narrative-focused games since 2008. We decided to run through several of the most notable games in Blendo's catalog and talk to the man behind the studio, Brendon Chung, about the influences that helped create the unique aesthetic shared across these games.

Gravity Bone (2008)

Though Gravity Bone isn't Blendo's first game, it's the first to use what would become the trademark aesthetic also featured in Thirty Flights of Loving and Quadrilateral Cowboy – people presented as blocky caricatures instead of photorealistic models and a thematic fascination with manuals and espionage. The short game follows the adventures of a spy completing a series of objectives, like delivering a poisoned drink to a target at a party, before the spy eventually killed by a mysterious woman. It's an interactive story that's told in a surreal matter with smash cuts and no intelligible dialogue. When I asked Chung about the motif of manuals that shows up in all three of his narrative games, he talked about taking apart machines and putting them back together when he was a child:

Discussing The Strange And Alluring Kentucky Route Zero Act IV

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Discussing The Strange And Alluring Kentucky Route Zero Act IV

Cardboard Computer’s haunting new episode of Kentucky Route Zero released recently. The point-and-click episodic adventure’s first act came out back in 2013, and the studio has slowly but progressively released new episodes year to year. What began as a story following the older trucker Conway, who wished to find the highway known as Route Zero to complete a delivery, has become less about the destination and more about the journey. Set in rural Kentucky, we now see Conway and his fellow drifter confidants hitching a ride on a boat as they continue their quest to deliver a parcel for the antique shop he works for. Editor Javy Gwaltney and I sat down to chat about our thoughts on Kentucky Route Zero and what’s special about this newest act.

Warning: there are spoilers ahead!

Elise: Javy, you told me that you recently wrapped up the latest act of Kentucky Route Zero. I adore this weird and haunting game, and was pleased with how the recent act turned out. So, what were your impressions? Did it meet your expectations after such a long wait?

Here Are The 40+ Announced Monsters From Pokémon Sun And Moon

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Here Are The 40+ Announced Monsters From Pokémon Sun And Moon

Pokémon Sun and Moon isn't coming until November, but Nintendo and The Pokémon Company haven't been huddled away in secrecy leading up to the game's release. Fans have been getting a steady stream of reveals for the new creatures, some of which have already become favorites. We've compiled the announced Pokémon in one handy spot, which we'll continue to update as new ones are revealed to the world.

Pokémon Sun and Moon is coming to the 3DS on November 18.

Alolan Exeggutor

Six Star Wars Characters We Hope To See In Upcoming Video Games

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When Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, nearly all of the existing story material aside from the main films was erased from the proper Star Wars timeline. The old books and games are now referred to as “Legends,” and no longer affect the Star Wars canon. Beloved characters, planets, and storylines were dismissed, causing a bit of controversy. However, the Star Wars universe continues to grow with an influx of new movies, books, and games on the horizon.

Fans recently received the exciting news that Grand Admiral Thrawn, one of the most well-known characters from the now defunct expanded universe, would be re-introduced to proper canon in the newest season of the animated series Star Wars Rebels. With this announcement comes an opportunity for fans to see even more of their favorite characters back in action. Even some characters already introduced in the canon deserve another chance in the spotlight. There are plenty of upcoming video games already announced, but we don’t know exactly when they will take place or what kind of heroes and villains may pop up. These Star Wars characters could tell great stories if they were to appear in a future video game.

RPG Grind Time – Three Upcoming RPGs You Should Have On Your Radar

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RPG Grind Time – Three Upcoming RPGs You Should Have On Your Radar

Every time I turn around, it feels like an RPG I need to make time for is on the horizon. At times this can be overwhelming, especially considering the time commitment, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The only way the genre gets better is for developers - big and small - to try new things; the more variety we have, the more opportunities there are to draw new players into the genre and help it prosper. One of my goals with this column has been to talk about a wide array of games. That means touching on everything from the triple-A juggernauts to the smaller gems you might not know much about. Today's column focuses on the latter – three upcoming games that as an RPG fan you should have on your radar. These titles are coming out in the very near future, and they also have one more thing in common – they're all sticking with the tried-and-true turn-based battle system and doing interesting things with it.

Earthlock: Festival of Magic (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PC) Release: September 1 (PC, Xbox One) (PS4, Wii U TBD)

What's New In Destiny: Rise of Iron's Gameplay

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What's New In Destiny: Rise of Iron's Gameplay

This week we revealed our new cover story on Destiny: Rise of Iron from Bungie. We visited the studio and played a lot of the game (we'll be sharing our impressions in the near future) but for now we wanted to let game director Christopher Barrett and executive producer Scott Taylor explain what's changing and what's new with this year's expansion. Also, we should note that, thanks to the audio team at Bungie, the video features new music from Destiny: Rise of Iron.

Watch the video below to see new gameplay and learn what players will encounter in Destiny: Rise of Iron.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Test Chamber – Playing Lucioball In Overwatch

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Test Chamber – Playing Lucioball In Overwatch

Alongside the 2016 Rio Olympics, Blizzard has released a smattering of new skins, sprays, and even a new game mode to Overwatch for the event.

Whether you're after an awesome new Soldier 76 pose or McCree's sweet new skin, you can kick around some balls on Overwatch's version of football or soccer with Lucioball. In this game mode, everyone plays as a slightly modified Lucio with moves that make more sense for scoring goals instead of healing allies.

Join Daniel Tack and GI intern Leo Vader for a look at Lucioball in this episode of Test Chamber! You can also check  out our Overwatch review!

Super Replay – Shadow Of The Colossus Episode Three

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Super Replay – Shadow Of The Colossus Episode Three

Team Ico's latest, The Last Guardian, is finally (pending any additional surprise delays) arriving this October, which is a perfect excuse to play through Shadow of the Colossus in its entirety.

Of course, you don't really need an excuse to play Shadow of the Colossus because it is a fantastic game. Join myself and Andrew Reiner as we relive some of our Shenmue magic by keeping this a two-person show, making our way through the game's strange world and bringing down its imposing beasts. We don't have a strict schedule in mind for this series, because we want to be able to absorb everyone's feedback episode to episode, so we likely won't be recording multiple episodes in advance. We're all going on this journey together, so please sound off in the comments section below or on YouTube.

For more Super Replay, follow the links to find our full playthroughs of Shenmue and Tex Murphy: Under A Killing Moon. You can also see our full playthrough of Dark Souls III here, which technically isn't a Super Replay, but is pretty close. For our Replay of Shadow of the Colossus, head here.

10 Relaxing Games To Take Your Mind Off Things

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Busy week? Boss yelling at you? Bills to pay? Sounds like you either need a plan or some games to help reduce your stress levels. Abzû, an enchanting underwater adventure game, was released this week and it might do the trick. If you need even more suggestions for games in a similar vein, no worries – we’ve got your back.

Here are 10 chill games for stressful times.

JourneyEasily one of the most notable games from the last generation of consoles, Journey was heralded for its beautiful aesthetic and cryptic-but-emotional pilgrimage. Matt Miller reviewed the game and said “During the course of covering the game, I completed it at least three times, with one entire playthrough being with a partner. Each time, without fail, individual moments (particularly the final level) managed to give me goosebumps, and those moments have remained on my mind for weeks afterward. Give Journey the same attention you might bring to a musical concert, a well-directed film, or a long-awaited book, and its rewards are substantial.”