Understanding Autism Through Stardew Valley

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Understanding Autism Through Stardew Valley

A sense of relief pours over me as I set my day in motion in Stardew Valley. I wake up from bed at the call of the rooster, tend my crops, and bustle around completing my mental to-do list with a spring in my step. This calmness stems from a comforting, habitual gameplay that rewards me for sticking to a rhythm that I dictate myself. The game has no finish line, no endpoint to race towards. Instead, you follow your own pace and create your own routines. It’s a malleable but repetitious cycle that I’m not accustomed to, but one my brother knows well, especially because he’s on the autistic spectrum.

Let 'Er Ripley: Our Time With Aliens Vs. Pinball

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Zen Studios’ Alien Vs. Pinball pack launched recently, bringing a trio of new tables to its Zen Pinball/Pinball FX platforms. I’ve spent several hours playing around with each one, and as a fan of the Aliens franchise, I’m happy to report that it’s one of the strongest collections that the pinball series has seen yet. Read on for my impressions of each of the three tables, which are based on the Aliens, Alien vs. Predator, and Alien: Isolation properties.

AliensI suspect this is where most of us are going to start, considering the popularity of the Aliens name and the fact that it’s first on the list of the newly added tables. If you’re a “save the best for last” kind of player, you might want to skip it – at least temporarily. The Aliens vs. Pinball pack is a great set of tables overall, but this is the clear highlight for me.

Opinion – The Perpetual Disappointment Of Nintendo Fandom

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Opinion – The Perpetual Disappointment Of Nintendo Fandom

Nintendo is one of the most beloved developers in the industry and was instrumental in helping popularize and legitimize video games in their early days. The company has a stable full of iconic franchises that it regularly taps to great results. Unfortunately, even with those advantages, a feeling of disappointment seems to follow Nintendo fandom in recent years thanks questionable decisions made by the company.

The latest round of disappointment comes from major news related to its upcoming console and the next entry of The Legend of Zelda. In one swoop, Nintendo not only delayed The Legend of Zelda for Wii U into 2017 (it was originally confirmed to release 2015 before being delayed last-minute into 2016), but it also announced that the delay was so it could experience simultaneous release on the NX, which is now scheduled to launch in March 2017. It’s strange and slightly anticlimactic that our first confirmed game for NX is a title that is also releasing on the company’s current console (though many expected this would happen with the constant delays late in the Wii U’s lifecycle).

Chronicles – Watch Episode Nineteen Of Our Dark Souls III Death March

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Chronicles – Watch Episode Nineteen Of Our Dark Souls III Death March

The Dark Souls franchise continues with a powerful third entry into the world of dark, demanding fantasy action. Join Daniel Tack, Andrew Reiner, Kyle Hilliard, and Javy Gwaltney in an epic game of "pass the sticks" as they attempt to conquer fantastic environments and towering bosses in From Software's latest ashen wasteland. Be aware that there may be spoilers as we move from episode to episode.

Will the crew finish? Will they smash controllers in frustration? Or will the team find new strength and resolve to persevere in the face of relentless and uncaring foes? Will the team go the extra mile and complete the game or go hollow as they bash against the endless tides of freakish minions? Find out on Chronicles: Dark Souls III edition.

Check out our review of Dark Souls III here.

Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (April 28, 2016)

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You'll notice we have blogs for the last two writing challenges in this week's edition. We missed two of them, or they didn't make the deadline, but they warranted a place in the roundup. In addition to those blogs, we have plenty of more for you to enjoy this week.

Community Blogs For April 21 – April 27:   

Anime That Deserve Their Own Games Refle includes at least one anime series in this blog that indeed does have a serviceable game under its belt (Cowboy Bebop) – but only in Japanese. I'm all for anime and manga games if they are done well (here are some I really love). Heck, sometimes I like the mediocre ones as well. It's just nice to run around as Luffy and co.  

Analysis – What Wii U's Lame Duck Status Means For Nintendo

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Analysis – What Wii U's Lame Duck Status Means For Nintendo

Early this morning, Nintendo announced its financial results for the year ended March 31, 2016. Amidst staggering profit decline, the company also dropped a bombshell: NX is coming later than anticipated.

There was never a formal announcement that NX was coming in 2016. However, with the planned release of The Legend of Zelda Wii U (long expected to be an NX title, also) and the expectation of a speedy transition to the next hardware cycle, a fall 2016 launch seemed logical.

Instead, Nintendo has announced that the NX launches in March 2017 and the next Zelda game will release on the new platform and the Wii U simultaneously. This makes the Wii U a lame duck for about 11 months and robs the holiday of the system’s biggest software launch since Super Smash Bros.

The Art That Shaped Final Fantasy: Thoughts From Famed Artist Yoshitaka Amano

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Many great artists have helped define Final Fantasy over the years, but Yoshitaka Amano’s work is the most recognizable, and has become closely associated with the series as a whole. Amano draws the iconic logo illustrations for every title, and is also responsible for the unique visual style that distinguishes many memorable monsters and characters.

During our visit to Tokyo for our Final Fantasy XV coverage, we had the opportunity to visit Amano’s office and chat with the legendary artist (also known for his work on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics) about his process, specific illustrations, and the significance of Final Fantasy in his personal artistic expression. Below are the thoughts Amano shared on this broad range of topics.

On beginning a new Final Fantasy illustration: It’s in development when these requests come up, so there’s not much documentation to go by. But with the information we do have to work with, I take that and interpret that on my own and try to incorporate that and create an illustration out of it. Of course, main characters are very important. So even if we progress through development, not much of the important aspects would drift or change significantly.

Chronicles – Watch Episode Eighteen Of Our Dark Souls III Death March

about X hours ago from
Chronicles – Watch Episode Eighteen Of Our Dark Souls III Death March

The Dark Souls franchise continues with a powerful third entry into the world of dark, demanding fantasy action. Join Daniel Tack, Andrew Reiner, Kyle Hilliard, and Javy Gwaltney in an epic game of "pass the sticks" as they attempt to conquer fantastic environments and towering bosses in From Software's latest ashen wasteland. Be aware that there may be spoilers as we move from episode to episode.

Will the crew finish? Will they smash controllers in frustration? Or will the team find new strength and resolve to persevere in the face of relentless and uncaring foes? Will the team go the extra mile and complete the game or go hollow as they bash against the endless tides of freakish minions? Find out on Chronicles: Dark Souls III edition.

Check out our review of Dark Souls III here.

No Reprieve To Be Found – How Video Games Deal With Grief

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No Reprieve To Be Found – How Video Games Deal With Grief

Heads up: This piece includes spoilers for the last episode of the Michonne miniseries, Max Payne 3, and That Dragon, Cancer.

There’s no moment quite like when you experience grief for the first time. I’ve had friends tell me it’s come upon them violently, heartrending outbursts of agony in grocery stores and theaters immediately after finding out who or what they’d lost: parents, jobs, relationships, pets. For me, it was a slow process, like mist creeping under a door and filling a room. I was in a new city a thousand miles away from home. I had sacrificed precious things for a job I wanted, given up one life for another, and news kept reaching me in texts and across social networks reminding me of that. Close friends were getting married. A grandfather I loved died and I couldn’t make it home to be with my family during the funeral. It all built up over a period of a few months before I finally unraveled in the hallway of my apartment complex, sobbing and chuckling and red-faced and unable to make myself stop for about an hour.

Star Fox Zero's Ending Sure Looks Familiar

about X hours ago from
Star Fox Zero's Ending Sure Looks Familiar

Let's get this out of the way first: Spoiler alert – below you will find the ending to Star Fox Zero, as well as some discussion about it. Here's a large picture of General Pepper looking rather pleased with himself as he stands by a picture of himself so you don't accidentally start reading the next paragraph if you've come here by accident.

Now that we're talking to the people who have completed Star Fox Zero, or the people who don't mind having the ending spoiled, it's weird, right? Nintendo has never been shy about the fact that Star Fox Zero is meant to be a reboot for the series. Miyamoto said at E3 2015 that it is not a remake or a sequel. Similar to the recent Star Wars culling that deleted all the expanded universe content, Star Fox Zero is meant to take the series back to zero and start over, hence the title. That's all well and good, but many aspects of the game, especially the ending, make it seem like Zero is a remake of Star Fox 64. Nintendo already remade Star Fox 64 on the 3DS, and it was great, so it makes it confusing when the ending is nearly shot-for-shot the same as Star Fox 64. In the video below, we placed the ending of Star Fox Zero and Star Fox 64 side-by-side with very little editing to point out the surprising number of direct overlaps.