Fake Journalist Destroys Fake Game Industry Scandal

Stephen Colbert is a liberal comedian who plays a right wing journalist, so it's fitting that he just gave the last (hopefully) word on a "movement" that claimed to be about integrity in game industry journalism, but was basically a conservative backlash against the growth of women as a force in games:

And while this backlash led to death/rape threats and unending harassment against women in games, it has also achieved the exact opposite purpose, greatly helping to make Anita Sarkeesian one of the most well-known and influential figures in the entire game industry:

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Inside Sunset Overdrive's Fabulous Virtual Fashions

Sunset overdrive fashion main image
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Gita Jackson gets it -- or should I say, she gets us. Jackson is a games writer with a passion for virtual fashion, and she understands the role it can play in how we understand a game's characters, attitude, and landscape. Hot on the heels of her recent post about the fashion and design decisions behind Final Fantasy X's Yuna, she's interviewed a few of the folks responsible for the vibrant, arresting fashion of Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive over on Paste. (Full disclosure: I am also a regular contributor to Paste.)

Jackson spoke with Insomniac Games Art Director Jacinda Chew and Carin Cronacher, an LA-based fashion designer who creates stagewear for Alice Cooper in addition to designing for her own brand. While Cronacher's experience gave her a unique perspective that aligned well with the game's intended visual style, as she explained to Jackson she still had to make sure she'd be putting together designs that people would actually want to wear:

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Iris Reviews Fantasy Life for Paste: A Roleplay Game Where You Can Be a Heroic Cook, Tailor, or Angler

Janine Hawkins Fantasy Life

"Fantasy Life: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor" is the latest article by New World Notes' Janine "Iris" Hawkins for the ultra-hip Paste Magazine, and it's a review of a Nintendo 3DS game a lot of SLers and other roleplay fans should love: Fantasy Life, where you can adventure as a standard Paladin, Mercenary, or Magician, but also take on much more mundane roles, like Cook, Tailor, or Angler. SLers in particular will enjoy the fashion and design aspects of the game, Janine tells me, who adds this play tip: "Keep progressing in the story so you can get access to shops that sell the materials you need instead of always having to hunt or them."

Another fun feature is the game encourages you to play many characters, passing talents from one to another:

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GamerGhazi: Your One-Stop Subreddit for You Know What

GamerGhazi Gamergate

/GamerGhazi, as the name suggests, is a subreddit of news and much-needed humor covering and mocking the biggest but also most irksome controversy to wrack the game industry in many years, which I'd also like to take a hiatus from posting about on New World Notes, especially as I just did last week.

Oh, and note for apolitical or non-American readers:

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Starved for Fun: Don't Miss These Top Posts from Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Survival Week

RPS Survival Week Eidolon
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Last week gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun ran a series of features for their rather brilliant Survival Week, a week devoted to survival games and mod conversions. With a full week's worth of articles published it can be tricky to catch up, but here are four recommended starting points:

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Learn About the Details Behind the Striking Design of Upcoming Game Firewatch

Trailerpaintover
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Firewatch is an upcoming game from Campo Santo, a small studio made up of a group of friends and industry veterans. Since the game is still in development material about it is stillpretty sparce, but this week they shared a post on their blog that is fascinating whether or not you've been following their progress. It's part two of a Twitter Q&A with fans where the developers responded to questions about the game's art and visual design, and it's an interesting look at what it takes to make a game look as striking as Firewatch.

There's a lot to take in (and some of the answers are admittedly a bit "inside baseball") but they're still an incredibly interesting read... Especially if you're looking for a little artistic advice yourself. For example, when asked if it's hard to design dozens of distinct rocks and trees, they write:

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The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo is Not Your Father's (Brother's) Indie Horror Game

UWWFN
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Everyone had that friend... Maybe a friend of a friend.... A friend of a friend of a friend (they go to a different school, you wouldn't know them) with an uncle who worked for Nintendo. They knew things, they'd seen things, they'd played things that you could only imagine. They could tell you how to get a level 99 Mew as your starter Pokemon, how to play as Zelda rescuing Link, how to save Aerith -- oh, did they forget to mention he used to work at Sony too?

It might seem like a strange premise for a horror game, but The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo is guaranteed to send a chill down your spine. Here's why:

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Journalist Critical of GamerGate Posts Best Critique of GamerGate Directly in GamerGate Forum

GamerGate Jesse Singal

This is probably the best critique of #GamerGate ever written by a mainstream journalist, and ironically enough, it's posted on /KotakuinAction, the central headquarters for the "movement" on Reddit. It's by Jesse SingalSenior Editor at NYMag.com, who also writes a Sunday video games column for The Boston Globe. Singal published a Globe editorial last month aruging that GamerGate is really about opposition to women and feminism in games. Unsurprisingly, GamerGaters in Reddit complained that the editorial was biased and poorly researched... and so last weekend, Jess Singal went into the Reddit forum himself and explained in great detail his sources for reaching that conclusion. It is a thing of beauty you should read in full here, but here's just a sample:

[F]aced with this complete lack of clarity [of GamerGate's purpose], all I or other journalists can do, then, is journalism: We ask the people in the movement what they stand for and then try to tease out what is real and what is PR. And every every every substantive conversation/ forum/encounter I've had with folks from GamerGate has led me to believe that a large part of the reason for the group's existence is discomfort with what its members see as the creeping and increasing influence of what you call social-justice warriors in the gaming world.

"Basically," Singal tells me, "I stumbled upon a Reddit thread from awhile back in which GamerGate people were calling me a hack, and instead of doing the reasonable thing and going on with my life because who cares, I posted a little response saying Hey, happy to actually talk this over if you guys want to. Generally speaking, when people misunderstand how journalism works – which a lot of GamerGate folks are at the moment – I do think it’s useful for us to step in and provide an explanation (assuming the accusers are acting with a baseline level of decency and respect)." After devoting a lot of time engaging with GamerGate supporters on Twitter, "I wanted to get down in one place everything that bugged me about trying to debate this movement (or 'movement')... So why not post in KIA itself, I figured?"

Since he was directly addressing GamerGate supporters angry at his Globe column, you'd think he'd mostly get angry replies. But here's the surprising thing about the response:

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Pokemon Art Academy Won't Make You Color Inside the Lines

BitBlock Pokemon Art Academy
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

If you read the late August round-up I wrote about the games I'm most looking forward to in the last quarter of 2014, then you probably have a very good idea of why you're staring down the barrel of a crudely drawn otter demon right now.

Pokemon Art Academy is due out this Friday and previews are already popping up to show what the game has to offer. For example, this video from The BitBlock (from which I grabbed the screencap above) is an entertaining example of what the first few minutes of play will be like. Even if you have zero interest in sketching up a Pikachu for yourself, it still might be a good way to get well-earned Monday laugh:

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It's Critical to be Critical, Whether You Like This Hyper-Violent Game Trailer or Not

Hatred trailer
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Yesterday, a developer released a trailer for a game they're working on. That's not news. It's a very violent game. That's not news either. What is news is just how negative its reception has been among gamers and games writers; within hours, op-eds were springing up about how repulsive, tacky, and frankly pathetic the trailer for the game (bluntly and blandly named Hatred) seems. Of course the trailer has spread like wildfire as a result, and on YouTube it still has more "dislikes" than "likes".

There's a lot of grossness to deal with when you're talking about Hatred. It claims to be a response to the trend towards "political correctness" in games. Its developers may hold some very disturbing political beliefs. It depicts a mass-shooting days after Anita Sarkeesian and the school hosting an event for her were threatened with one. But if nothing else, the responses to all of that grossness have been very insightful and well worth reading -- especially if, like me, you've ever tried to reconcile your enjoyment of some violent video games with your utter distaste for others.

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