I have a bit of a penchant for intense sci-fi games, especially if the star is a robot with a heart. Shiny looks like it’s going to rip my entire heart out as the premise has Kramer 227 racing against the clock the save his robot brethren. There’s puzzles and exploration to be had, and I just really worry he isn’t going to be able to rescue his species before his planet crashes into the sun. It’s already out on Steam, but look for it in stores early next year! Check out the gameplay trailer and full press release below!
SOEDESCO and 1C Company team up
Publishers SOEDESCO and 1C Company are excited to announce their cooperation. The first project in this cooperation aims to release boxed editions of award-winning hardcore sci-fi platformer Blackhole and non-violent sci-fi platformer Shiny to PlayStation®4 and Xbox One, with more titles expected in the future. The two games can be found in stores in early 2018.
Blackhole is a hardcore sci-fi platformer made by FiolaSoft Studio. The game revolves around a spaceship which crashes on Entity, an unidentified object resembling a planet. The player takes on the role of the coffee guy of the crew, who wakes up all alone after the crash. The player’s only company is Auriel, the ship’s computer’s sarcastic A.I. Together, they need to fix the spaceship, save all the others and become heroes of planet Earth, while mysterious caves, lost cities, towering mountains and deep forest full of tricky, gravity defying puzzles and deadly traps stand in their way.
Shiny is non-violent family friendly sci-fi platformer made by Garage 227. Players play as robot Kramer 227, who has to find a way to harvest energy and rescue its robotic friends before the doomed planet of Aurora crashes into its sun. On their journey, players need to overcome obstacles and manage their energy levels to power themselves and their friends on their way to safety.
“We’re glad 1C Company has put their trust in our skills.” Says Hans van Brakel, Executive Manager at SOEDESCO. “With our expertise in boxed games and their outstanding marketing and public relations support, we think this will be a long-standing cooperation.”
Nikolay Baryshnikov, VP Interactive Entertainment 1C Company, says about the partnership: “We’re happy to be teaming up with SOEDESCO for these two titles, because we realize that there are still players preferring boxed editions of games. We hope this cooperation will continue in the future.”
SOEDESCO® is a worldwide publisher of both digital and boxed games on multiple platforms. Our past line-up includes third party titles like Toki Tori 2+, Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut, Among the Sleep and N.E.R.O. SOEDESCO also published Adam’s Venture Origins®, a new title in the Adam’s Venture-series, music themed action RPG AereA® and is currently working on Real Farm Sim®, a simulation game which offers the real farm experience. Adam’s Venture, AereA and Real Farm Sim are original SOEDESCO IP.
More information about SOEDESCO® and its products can be found on the company’s website, www.soedesco.com or by following @SOEDESCO on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About 1C Company
Founded in 1991, 1C is a global games publisher with offices located in Europe and Russia. The company releases PC games through its global network of independent distribution partners, digitally and at retail.
www.1cpublishing.com | 1C Showreel: https://youtu.be/8xcX4OeSPj8
About FiolaSoft Studio
Discover new worlds beyond your imagination. We are a group of friendly creative people since 2002 and we love to be involved in the media production. Developing own computer and console video-games, providing professional audio and video services. We get things done in the most convenient way: by having fun. FiolaSoft Studio is an indie multimedia studio formed in 2002, and ever since then the team has been using GameMaker: Studio as a primary tool for creating games. The studio is made of a group of creative people who are ready for any IT challenge.More information on FiolaSoft Studio, our logo & relevant media are available here.
About Garage 227
Garage 227 Studios is a Brazilian independent game development company founded in 2014, with Studios in Sao Paulo, Brazil and an office in Los Angeles, CA. Garage was founded with the mission of turning passion into games and the firm belief that games can have a positive impact in the world. www.garage227studios.com
Mine! is an upcoming comics collection where the proceeds go to Planned Parenthood. From stories about everyday people to fantastic adventures, Mine! celebrates and defends Planned Parenthood in a book that can live on in our homes, libraries and the halls of Congress.
With states trying to sell women “rape insurance” and inhibiting access to healthcare, something like Mine! is definitely needed to help keep Planned Parenthood funded. There is a Kickstarter campaign going on for the next month to make the project a reality and they have some phenomenal big names and talented indie creators contributing an original story. Pledges range from digital copies to copies for your library to original art. If you have a moment, view their campaign video and the full press release below!
PLANNED PARENTHOOD AND COMICMIX L.L.C. TEAM-UP FOR MINE!,
A COMICS COLLECTION FUNDRAISER
ComicMix Editor-in-Chief Mike Gold today announced the forthcoming publication of a graphic novel of
original short stories to celebrate the important work of Planned Parenthood. The volume, to be edited
by Joe Corallo and Molly Jackson, will be published this fall in celebration of over 100 years of Planned
Mine! will feature the work of Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Sandman), Gail Simone (Wonder Woman),
Yona Harvey (Black Panther), Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance, Umbrella Academy), Gabby
Rivera (America), Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Witches of Echo Park), Mara Wilson
(Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame), Mags Visaggio (Kim & Kim),
Andrew Aydin (March), Frank Conniff (Mystery Science Theater 3000), Yuri Lowenthal (Ben 10),
Brittney Williams (Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat!), John Ostrander (Suicide Squad), and Jill Thompson
(Wonder Woman), among many other top comics creators.
Project Co-Editor Molly Jackson said, “Planned Parenthood is a vital resource for women and men from
all walks of life, providing needed health care and support to millions of people all over the world. We
are proud to do whatever we can to bring attention to their amazing work.”
Co-Editor Joe Corallo said, “The comics community is built on freelance labor that relies on the kind of
access to healthcare that Planned Parenthood provides. We’re thrilled to see such a diverse group of
people in the comics community coming together to support this essential cause.”
A Kickstarter campaign to help finance printing and distribution costs is expected to launch August
15th, 2017. Mine! will be available in bookstores, comic book shops, and electronically all over the
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health
care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With
more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients
with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in
schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable
health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we
care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
ComicMix, LLC publishes a line of graphic novels by some of the best new and established talent in the
industry. ComicMix Pro Services works with creators to produce, publish and market their work in a
highly competitive marketplace. In addition, ComicMix runs one of the Internet’s most popular comics oriented
pop culture opinion and news sites.
Our first impression is of a grim, but beautifully presented game. The music seems harrowing and emotional while not overbearing and gameplay seems smooth with a cute character design. It’s overall a pretty sweet looking little game with original pencil drawn art, but you can kind of tell with this amount of detail.
Will you be checking out Original Journey? Peep the trailer and full press release below:
Original Journey Invades Windows Today
There’s been a lot of talk about boycotting Image Comics over the past two weeks. Those feelings are valid. I feel them too. However, I want to address why this would not work and open up the conversation to alternative courses of action. I’ll discuss what led readers to this decision, how Image makes their money, who a boycott will actually hurt, and ultimately what we can do together to help change happen.
A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATELY SHITTY EVENTS
By now, we have all seen the cover to The Divided States of Hysteria #4, the latest title by longtime comic creator, Howard Chaykin. If you haven’t, here is a link to it, but I do warn you: it’s fucked up. From the racial slur to the mutilation, there’s nothing that sits right about this cover. As Comicosity put it:
“There’s nothing thought-provoking about the lynching depicted on the cover of issue #4. Chaykin chose to put a racial slur on the dead man’s name tag. Not spray painted on the wall by him, not written on him in blood. On his name tag. Chaykin decided that the value of the life of the victim he was portraying was so little that he didn’t even deserve an actual name. Just a slur.”
(If you’re pretty up to date on the events surrounding this cover, you can skip down to subsection “THE CALL TO BOYCOTT.”)
This is the latest in a quick series of affronts to marginalized readers regarding this title.
For one thing, The Divided States of Hysteria is a story about “an America shattered by greed and racism, violence and fear, nihilism and tragedy.” While not an intrinsically terrible premise, the writing itself is problematic. Chaykin’s characters use transphobic language in the very first issue while enacting violence against a transgendered sex worker named Chrissie. Transgender individuals already face heightened chances of violence according to a recent study, so why punch down on a group that experiences this as a fact of life?
Secondly, while the title isn’t the first to use this incendiary sort of story telling, having it released during Pride month is tone-deaf at the very least. Image Comics did such a huge promotion for its Pride variants, even releasing one starring Chrissie, that this felt like a slap in the face to the LGBTQIA community. It instead renders the gesture empty, making it a venture capitalizing on struggles we face daily.
Then, when first pressed for comment, Image declined. At this, most people curled their lip and readers were vocal about using their money to support books by other publishers instead. The outrage simmered down after a few days.
Most recently, Image released solicitations, or previews for upcoming issues which feature cover art, for The Divided States of Hysteria #4, as mentioned above. In the aftermath of a slew of rightfully angered comments, tweets, and emails, Image and Chaykin finally issued a statement:
There’s several questions that still need to be answered: Can we do anything as readers? How do these comics get approved when comics are such a collaborative medium, requiring many eyes before the book reaches the shelf? How can we stop supporting a publisher who lets this thing slide?
Image Comics was originally created to represent creators who weren’t being appreciated by DC and Marvel for their work back in the early 1990s. In addition to a different business model, namely taking a fixed fee upon publication for the company’s administrative costs in exchange for the creator keeping all creative rights to their property, Image also doesn’t generally interfere creatively. Every comic published by Image lists their entire staff, right there in the masthead. There is no editorial staff, unless the creators themselves hire one, directly out-of-pocket. I spoke to a creator, who chose to remain anonymous, a little more about how this works:
“…to the best of my knowledge, no one looks at the files until the book goes into actual production. Now, this wouldn’t be true for things like covers, which are used for promo and marketing, but content wise there aren’t any checks on stuff that I’m aware.”
For a publisher that prides itself on being diverse, why isn’t more care given to the stories published? It could be because most creators behind current Image titles are predominantly cisgendered white males. It could be because publishers have consistently capitalized on minority experiences instead of celebrating them. Either way, for a supposedly “progressive” leader in independent comics, it’s a handful of specific creators that have made Image seem so forward-thinking. Image is progressive by default, when you compare them to the constant missteps by both DC and Marvel, and consider that a lot of newer readers enter the comic world through the award-winning Saga.
Overall, Image might have this reputation for being alternative and a breath of fresh air in the grand lineup of superhero books, but when you scrutinize the teams behind the books, it really isn’t. It’s hard to forget they’re a company who first and foremost want to make money. This is where readers come in.
THE CALL TO BOYCOTT
While I am certainly not going to tell anyone not to boycott, I do feel it’s my duty as a retailer to lay out why a blanket boycott will hurt brick and mortar shops without impacting the publisher itself. I stress that it’s very different to boycott a creator whose work you don’t care for versus an entire publisher.
Why does a blanket boycott hurt shops and not the publisher? A shop has to pay for comics about three months before they hit shelves. This means the publisher has already been paid, usually before reviews have come out, and before the public at large learns of the book. This is why a Previews catalogue is so important: it highlights upcoming books from all publishers, toys, shirts, merchandise, you name it. You can sign up and preorder anything in that catalogue at your local comic shop. And you should– that way shops can order the correct amounts of new product for their individual shelves.
Otherwise… shops have to take a guess. Some shops employ POS systems that track every bar code that goes out the door, and some do it all by paper and pencil, which works great for titles that have already come out and have an established fanbase. For new titles, we have to essentially wing it and put faith into it without having read it, in the hopes that it will sell. This is a much easier bet to make for bigger publishers like Marvel, DC, and Image than it is for smaller publishers.
Where a large corporation can handle a boycott by laying off people or raising the price of a product to offset the money lost, Image would have to cancel titles. It wouldn’t be titles like The Walking Dead either, it’d be the ones with smaller, dedicated fanbases that may not have high print numbers.
I asked my creator friend about this as well:
“It’s for sure going to hurt shops first and more. As you know, comic shops are buying stuff non returnably. So if, say, the entire customer base of a store decided at once to stop buying Image (or any other publisher) while the shop could adjust for future orders, they’re stuck with the stock they have. And stores, typically, have a lot less margin for that sort of thing than publisher.
In the specific case of Image, the next person up the chain, in terms of being hurt, are the creative teams. Image doesn’t profit off singles, and they only profit a little off of the rest. It’s hypothetically possible enough boycotting could reduce the number of titles they have and hurt them financially like that, or hurt trade enough, but by nature of the comics market and the Image model, you’re always going to be preferentially hurting shops and creators.
A boycott that was actually effective would hurt marginal titles most. Saga can lose 50% of it’s audience and still be profitable. The Few couldn’t.”
So, what can we do?
PATHS OF ACTION
Be vocal about why you’re not purchasing a book in as many places as you feel comfortable. Utilize hashtags, tag the publisher, tweet about what you are purchasing instead! You can launch a movement with peers and use the tools at your disposal to bring attention to the issue at hand, much like people did with Milo Whatshisface’s book under Simon & Schuster. Maybe it’ll be canceled and maybe it won’t be. There’s not a precedent for that exactly, but we can chalk that up to being disorganized about how we have been going about this. There’s also a wider range of representation happening than ever before, and until the creators ARE the people represented, there’s bound to be mistakes here and there. As long as there’s an honest conversation, progress can be made.
It shouldn’t fall on readers, both new and old, to constantly strive for change when it should come from within the industry. The same old white creators with the same old ideas should be encouraged to use their reputation and clout to fill their teams with people of color, women, queer people.
Whatever you do, DO NOT tag and/or attack the creator in your missives. Even if they’re the actual worst, they’re still people at the end of the day.
Focus on individual titles, look up your favorite creators and support their endeavors, either by buying their other work at a convention, commissioning a piece of art, signing up for their patreon, etc. Don’t be afraid to vote with your dollar.
It’s time for the comics industry to stop failing us. Us being retailers, readers, creators. Let’s stop pushing away a new, hungry readership and welcome them by listening. Hire qualified younger people who can point out things that may be easily missed. Get consultants on books if a publisher insists that same old creator writes a character with vastly different life experiences. Hell, just take a lap around a convention’s artist alley and take it in. See what people are buying and are excited about. These are new readers. These are people barely getting into books. These are seasoned fans reaching for something new. Yes, even the women ogling everything Kevin Wada has on sale. Yes, even the dudes purchasing J. Scott Campbell prints. Yes, even the queer people picking up that hard to find Pop figure. Yes, even the children standing in line to get a photo with Stan Lee.
Let’s do this together.
There are independent games everywhere you look at PaxSouth and for fans of multiplayer madness, we tried out a couple of the best!
While I am not a fan of the fighting genre, I engaged in a few rounds of Brawlout due to the eye-catching character designs. They’re animated and dynamic, and kept me interested, long after my fingers became sore from mashing buttons. Watching excited con-goers pummel each other round after round definitely gives the idea that Brawlout can be the next big mainstay in the pro gaming circuits.
Brawlout is a competitive fighting game mixing the precision of violent fighters, with a gorgeous animated style. Up to 8 players can go at once in a match, along with ranked tourneys, a story campaign, and local party mode. Characters are based on different cultural deities, complete with unique combat styles, and can be customized for better abilities and special attacks. It’s perfect for fans of Smash.
Brawlout is currently scheduled for release in late Srping 2017 for XboxOne, PS4, and Steam.
Australian studio SMG markets Death Squared as a multiplayer puzzle game about cooperation, communication, and robot explosions. However, I am pretty sure this game is going to be how my friendships with the other Sub Cultured writers end. I found the four robot characters adorable (and they have a backstory!), and the levels challenging. If you liked all the minigames in other friendship ending games like Mario Party, this will be right up your alley.
Death Squared boasts over 120 levels with more on the way, ranging from intense problem solving with your teammates to simply maneuvering your character onto a button to finish the stage. A bit of warning: deaths are hilariously catastrophic and surprisingly meeting your end is very, very easy.
The game releases March 14, 2017 on XboxOne, PS4, and Steam, but keep an eye peeled for our Twitch stream where we will be giving out keys. There’ll probably be lots of swearing.
Want more PAX South 2017 coverage? All you had to do was ask!
Prisma and The Masquerade Menace, Sundered, and RiME
Minit, Beat Cop, and Strikers Edge
Arms, Splatoon 2, and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Monster Boy, Warlock’s Tower, and Has-Been Heroes
Gorogoa & What Remains of Edith Finch
It’s that time of year again when we have a day of reflection and I sort through everything I’ve read and make a top graphic novel list of sorts. This year was difficult in a tremendous amount of ways, but I found solace among the pages of this spectacular medium. Comics were DOPE AF this year. There were so many fantastic stories. There were so many in fact, that I had to make three separate lists for all the books I wanted to include.
Without further ado, let’s get to my top graphic novels of 2016, ranked in no particular order! My criteria were few:
- Released at some point in 2016
- Stand alone or collected a mini-series
- I thought about it a lot throughout the year
LEGEND OF WONDER WOMAN
POISON IVY: CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH
STEVEN UNIVERSE & CRYSTAL GEMS
UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP MARVEL UNIVERSE
DRAWN & QUARTERLY
X-MEN TP WORST X-MAN EVER
In a quiet seaside town, a gas station clerk named Huck secretly uses his special gifts to do a good deed each day. When his story leaks, a media firestorm erupts, bringing him uninvited fame. As pieces of Huck’s past begin to resurface, it’s no longer clear who his friends are-or whose lives may be in danger. Mark Millar’s bright, sweet story about a man particularly good at finding is akin to laying in bed in the sunlight on a Sunday afternoon. A completely pure story among this year’s indie sci-fi dystopias.
That rounds out my top 10! It was not an easy task and I’m already not looking forward to doing one of these for 2017. Did I miss one of your favorites? Let me know in a comment!