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
PaxSouth is a hub for intriguing and inventive games, and the first two video games from movie studio, Annapurna Pictures, are no exception.
Gorogoa caught my eye because of the art. It looked like a coloring book brought to life, like a dream you could wade through via computer. I spent a solid half hour diving into the story, figuring out some puzzles with lightning speed and stumbling through others while feeling judged by the character when I got stuck. That said, I can’t wait to get my hands on the entire game!
Designed, developed, and illustrated by Jason Roberts, Gorogoa is a completely unique game. The overall story is equal parts myth and magic as a boy sees a colossal monstrosity in his city and decides to unlock the secrets to finding it. Each gorgeous scene is split into four panels that you can explore through a simple point and click mechanic. Solving each puzzle reveals more of the story. Elegantly simple and perfect for fans enamored of lovely storytelling.
Gorogoa is scheduled to hit mobile devices and Steam in Spring 2017.
What Remains of Edith Finch
What Remains of Edith Finch is a collection of short tales about a family in Washington state. As Edith, the player will explore the colossal Finch house, searching for stories. Each story you find lets you experience the life of a new family member on the day of their death, with stories ranging from the distant past to the present day, and culminating with that family member’s death.
In the 20 minute demo, we experienced the final moments of two different family members. The macabre interactive narrative is completely fresh in its storytelling and the attention to detail reminds the player that this title isn’t suited to the run-and-gun. I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you picking it up, but prepare yourself for some feelings. Oh, and remember to breathe.
What Remains of Edith Finch is due out Spring 2017 on Steam and PS4. Check back here, because this is the standout title that we absolutely cannot wait to get our grubby little hands on and review in depth!
Want more PAX South 2017 coverage? All you had to do was ask!
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!
To those of us enamored of Carrie Fisher, the most important person in your life, you were a comfort. You helped an icon be the best she could be. You were there with her to the end.
May I share a couple of personal stories with you?
In 1977, my parents went on a date to see a movie. I don’t know whether they argued about what to see, but ultimately they saw Star Wars. They tucked away the name “Luke” on the chance they had a boy in the near future. I arrived nine years later and was instead given the name of the space princess who saved a galaxy. Inevitably, I grew up watching Carrie in A New Hope over and over again. She stood up to an entire fucking Empire! I can’t impress upon you enough what that felt like, to see a woman staring defiantly in the face of oppression and darkness. It was an honor to have such a name as Leia. When I felt weak, I looked to her character for guidance. “What Would Princess Leia Do?” became a mantra.
She gave me new hope every time I felt hopeless.
Learning that the woman who played her was just as strong and just as fiery was AMAZING. Carrie Fisher was outspoken and honest about everything, even when the world at large told her she shouldn’t be. She struggled with being bipolar, and spoke candidly about the stigma surrounding it.
That’s when you came along. Seeing you became synonymous with knowing she felt more at peace with herself. You helped her so much, Gary! In fact, my second story is about you.
In May 2015, I attended a Dallas convention in a spur of the moment decision. My time was spent showing a convention newbie around the place. When we entered a hallway between the dealer room and the autograph area, you zoomed out to us, barking happily. We squatted and gave you a couple of pets before I froze. A voice I knew all too well rang out in the quite hallway.
“GARY, MY LOVE, COME!” she called out and off you went, tongue out, tail wagging.
I gripped my companion as we stood, ecstatic that I’d gotten to meet you.
You probably don’t need me to tell you how great she was, as you knew her much better than I did. My awe of her was spent largely from afar, one of many many fans of her work, both onscreen and off.
It doesn’t make me sad I never officially got to meet her, because I get to see her whenever I’d like. I get to share her story with everyone and describe how a princess could save herself, an entire galaxy, and ultimately, me. A whole new generation of people just got the chance to fall in love with one of the greatest heroes of our time.
That will always be what Carrie Fisher was to me…A hero.
I am so sorry that she has left your side, but please let me say from the bottom of my broken heart: Thank you, Gary.
Check out our latest unboxing video! In this one, we crack open October’s spooky themed Loot Pets! Be sure to check out our channel and subscribe for updates on when we post new videos!
I started this article during our September gaming month here at Sub Cultured. Since Hispanic Heritage Month also ran until mid-October, I had originally decided to compile a list of characters to showcase Hispanic representation in video games. I identify as Hispanic, having a mix of Spanish and Mexican blood in my genetic makeup (among others) and while my ties to my cultures aren’t very strong, I enjoyed the few times I’ve gotten to play as a Hispanic character. Upon writing this, I realized just how little I’d had the opportunity.
“From the press to the games they cover, the absence of black or Hispanic characters is limiting its fan base, its narrative potential, and its creative ideas.”
Where Are We?
For a lot of us, discovering Hispanic characters in our gaming choices means seeing ourselves on the screen and allowing us a place in the stories we played. Unfortunately, characters with darker skin tend to be strictly reserved for tertiary roles or worse, cameo appearances which end in death before we get a chance to experience any sort of character development. Honestly, I had trouble thinking of others aside from Street Fighter’s Vega and Resident Evil’s Carlos Oliveira. Vega is a gorgeous Spanish assassin whose modus operandi is killing women he deems ugly and is one of many choices on Street Fighter’s roster. Carlos is a South American ex-militia sort of guy with a good heart, and he even gets to save the day in Resident Evil 3. In addition to them, there are other, smaller roles prevalent in games, like the cholos in Grand Theft Auto installments, Bane in Injustice: Gods Among us, and while we are sprinkled throughout independent titles like Guacamelee, but where are the protagonists?
When I worked through the vast catalogue of video games I’ve ever played in my life, I found a solid argument could be made for Dead Rising’s siblings Carlito and Isabela Keyes as both were playable, fully fleshed out characters. However, it was disheartening to realize I’d come up with just two out of scores of main characters spanning dozens and dozens of popular franchises. We exist as NPC’s like Final Fantasy XII’s Al Cid Margrace and the A.I. Secundo from Beyond Good and Evil, but no matter where I looked, Hispanic and Latino main characters statistically don’t exist.
As I researched more characters, like Steve Cortez from Mass Effect or the handful of luchador based exaggerations, I noticed a trend. Mostcharacters consisted of stereotypes with similar accents no matter their ethnicity and language, or served a purpose little beyond forwarding the white male hero’s journey. Is this really how we’re seen? Settling for the bare minimum of representation is not what we deserve, and it’s something we should strive to change. Surprisingly, the fighting genre did far and above have the most inclusive characters, counting LGBTQIA individuals among their ranks like Guilty Gear’s Bridget and Kung Jin of Mortal Kombat, even though the genre is inherently catered to the male gaze.
It’s been some years since we have seen a “main character” introduced with a Hispanic background. What more do we have to do to get a game centered around us? Take a look around the next time you’re buying a video game. We ARE purchasing games, we ARE playing the shit out them, and we ARE an audience developers are not considering according to the most recent study. With the passing of one of the more influential Latino bloggers, Juan Carlos Alanis, in the past couple of years, no one has really stepped up and filled his place in the gaming community. There aren’t resources for us, so we are left to join the forums of places like the profit run IGN, or social media groups.
What Can We Do?
Can we make the gaming world aware of our existence?
Hell yes, we can.
Together we can be loud, and utilize the spaces and movements given to us. Brandish that #HeritageMonth hashtag between September 15th through October 15th. Reintroduce the gaming community to GameDev Latinos, a site highlighting developers from all over and where to buy their games. Create your own hashtags when you get to pick a Hispanic character. Overwatch, Blizzard’s immensely popular FPS, JUST added Sombra, the Mexican hacker. Use her, talk about her, and let’s raise awareness about how special she is to us.
We can create our own stories, and create our own games based on our rich backgrounds. Those of us with game development dreams, go for them! Let’s discuss how different a game’s story would play out because the main character is Brazilian, Dominican, Mexican ,etc (Spoilers: it wouldn’t be different). We don’t have to wait for a story starring us; we can create that story! CollegeScholarships.org has a decent list of resources to continue your education in those fields, both academic programs and scholarships, so take advantage of them! Indie blog Remezcla even recently highlighted up and coming developers after Kingdom Rush was created by Uruguay-based Ironhide Game Studios and grabbed the attention of the gaming industry a few years back.There are people making games actively right this second for you to work with.
Are you a convention goer? Request panels from Hispanic and Latino developers, or submit your own and start the conversation. I promise that if there’s one thing I’ve learned from talking too much about everything, it’s that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling. Sub Cultured will be attending PaxSouth in January, held in beautiful San Antonio, and my focus will be on seeking out games that represent us.