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Dev Dive: Hinterland

Written by Emoryy86. Posted in Gamer Girl's Blog

Dev Dive: Hinterland

I’ll just come out and say it. I love indie games. I love how they push the boundaries of what games are, and how they are changing the way that we as gamers see and interpret them. The fact that questions like “are games considered art?” and “is that even a game?” exist makes me hopeful for the future of the industry we love so much. This industry won’t grow if its ideals aren’t challenged. Don’t get me wrong, I love my AAA titles. ‘Borderlands’ is one of my favorite games of all time! I’m not saying that I see the publisher model of game development as inferior, but the creativity and passion coming from the independent development community makes me more excited than any big box office game has. With that knowledge about me as a gamer, let me tell you about an impressive new development team that I am very interested in!

Hinterland is a studio of seven members based in Vancouver Island, Canada. Many of them are ex AAA developers and writers. Their resumes include past positions at Ubisoft, Bioware and Relic as well as popular game series such as Far Cry, Saints Row and God of War. Established by Raphael Val Lierop in 2012, this team’s goal is to make more thought-provoking and story-driven experiences for gamers. To do so, they have begun development on their first game, ‘The Long Dark’, which they have described as a post-apocalyptic survival simulation game.
As much as I hear people moan about how overdone the post-apocalyptic genre is I still get excited when I hear about a new one. Moreover, one that is trying something different or is looking at the situation from another POV. This apocalypse is quiet, caused by the largest geomagnetic disruption the world has ever seen. Humans are left powerless, the electric grid and telecommunications have gone dark. The sparsely populated Pacific Northwest is a hauntingly beautiful backdrop for the main character, Will Mackenzie’s, story of struggle for survival. Unlike most of the post-apocalyptic media out there today, there are no zombies in this game. As much as I love zombies, their absence is intriguing to me. When I think about the post-apocalyptic themed media that I consume, the human element is what scares me the most (even when the undead roam the world!). I'm constantly looking for a game to tell me a story that sticks with me well after I've completed the campaign. The Long Dark is sounding more and more like that experience, and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Hinterland’s long list of experience and passion to make more thought-provoking games makes me very interested in what’s going to come out of their studio. We will get our first taste of what to expect when ‘The Long Dark’ releases. Unfortunately that information hasn’t been revealed yet. If you’re interested (like me) and want to stay up to date on this developer, you can subscribe to their newsletter here). Does Hinterland’s take on the apocalypse peak your interest? Does a zombie-less post-apocalypse leave you yawning? Let me know in the forum post for this article!

~Emoryy

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Welcome to the Headstart and Launch of WildStar

Written by Maebee. Posted in Gamer Girl's Blog

Grievance Exile Guild Shot

Wow! We had an enjoyable weekend with Headstart and I am looking forward to launch of Wildstar. Check out some of the images from our guild event last night.

Grievance Exile Event

Between my love of Wildstar, some recent vacation time and the holidays, I haven’t been that focus on business. This always leads to the getting back to work doldrums. Focusing on my business can be a challenge after these types of events. I struggle with getting the flow of my work day going again. 

Let’s face it, there are numerous activities and events that can distract. Little actions can distract me or even just staring into space day dreaming. Owning my own business, being the boss, it is essential that I work on getting focused again.

Trailing off to an event

Focusing takes discipline, which is one undertaking, I constantly working on. Here are a couple of activities that help me reconnect with my business mindset.

  • - ID distractions - I know what my distractions are. Some distractions, like email or Facebook, I can quickly come back from them. Other distractions, like Wildstar, just pulls me in and I totally lose my focus for hours on end. I can’t go near this distraction.

  • - Start with rituals - I use several getting ready patterns for beginning my work day. These rituals help me find my process for the work day. Getting my morning drink, picking music to inspire me, making sure my business tools are ready to go, checking my schedule for the day, etc.

 Now it is your turn, what do you do to get your focus back on your business, job or normal day?

Grievance G Attempt

~Maebee


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My Favorite Video Games and Why Part 3: Pokémon

Written by Emoryy86. Posted in Gamer Girl's Blog

We all know about Pokémon; or at least one Pokémon (Pika-pika!). Japan has even chosen Pikachu, the adorable yellow electric mouse, to be their 2014 FIFA world cup mascot. The Pokémon craze hit hard in the late 90’s, and has landed itself on my favorite games of all-time list!

     Pokémon is a turn-based RPG out of Japan by Nintendo that was internationally launched for the Game Boy in 1998. RPG’s like this one have had the most influence on myself as a gamer. The character building single-handedly keeps me saying, “Just one more level and I’ll take a break”. Pair this with adorable pocket monsters that evolve and I’m hooked! The sense of adventure was so addicting to me. There was always something to do, someone to help, Pokémon to catch and my ever-changing party to raise. Don’t even start me on Team Rocket (the antagonists). I hate those guys.

    Strategy is a big part of how your Pokémon will fare in battles. Each Pokémon has one (or more in later generations) type, and usually the type coincides with the physical appearance of the Pokémon. Pidgey, a bird Pokémon, is of the flying type. Flying type Pokémon do not fare well against electric types like Pikachu. Most of the efficiencies between types make sense, like fire types will be weak to water types and grass types will be weak to fire types. On the contrary, some don’t make sense. Memorization of these different type efficacies is crucial, and keeping a diverse group of Pokémon in my pack fared well for me. Some of my battles were won with one well-chosen Pokémon or skill. The turn-based gameplay also required me to do some thinking when in battle mode. Certain attacks may use two turns, others may only raise defense or offense and not administer any immediate physical attack. Even others may not be able to be changed for the remaining turn of the fight (Rollout, Bind…get out of here). I constantly had to think ahead of my current turn, along with thinking about what strategy my opponent was using and how to best them. As a child playing this game, I learned A-LOT about problem-solving!

    What is a game without cheats! In the earlier generations of the Pokémon franchise, there were multiple cheats available to the player. The one that I got the most use out of was the Cinnabar Island glitch. By talking to the Old Man in Viridian City that teaches you how to catch Pokémon and immediately flying to Cinnabar Island and surfing up and down the east coast of the Island you could fight and catch high level Pokémon. I was bestowed with a level 100 Cloyster that got me through the final sequence of fights with the Elite Four. Some may scoff at this strategy, but as a kid I was just happy to be able to beat a game!

    For these reasons Pokémon will always have a special place in my heart. Are/were you a Pokemaniac when you were growing up? You can discuss why or why not in the forum post about this article!


~Emoryy86

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My Favorite Video Games and Why: Part Two

Written by Emoryy86. Posted in Gamer Girl's Blog

Welcome back to the second installment of this series! Where I tell you all about the video games I love! Number two: Borderlands!

The first one. This was my favorite game until Journey came along. “But Em! There’s a sequel that was critically acclaimed better than the first!” This is true. I played Borderlands 2, and I’m still partial to the first. We will get into why at a later date, but let me tell you why this game holds a special place in my gaming heart:

Characters. You can’t beat the original four vault hunters. My favorite was the siren, Lilith. Surprising, I know. Her action skill was the most helpful to me, seeing as this was the first real shooter I had seriously played. And her SMG skill tree was.the.tits. I played all four of the original vault hunters, and nothing felt as good as reducing a bandit to ashes with my combustion hellfire. Although, I must admit the hunter Mordecai’s revolver skill tree was pretty ridiculous. Especially paired with pestilent defilers. And he has a pet bloodwing. #TooLegit
Not only do we have awesome playable characters in Borderlands, we also have AMAZING NPC’s. Scooter is my ABSOLUTE favorite of the bunch. He has some of the FUNNIEST lines in this entire game. The NPC’s had so much personality, and that gets me excited and emotionally attached to a game. Also, Claptrap. Who doesn’t love an oblivious dancing robot?

GUNS! There are a lot of guns in Borderlands. They pride themselves on it, actually. The feeling when you and your group finally down Crawmerax and a geyser of rainbow colored loot litters the landscape is priceless. I really liked that there were different manufacturers that made distinctly different guns. Maliwan (my favorite) has special elemental effects coupled to their guns. The Combustion Hellfire (MY FAV GUN EVARRR) shoots bullets of fire. Mobs explode into fire. It’s awesome. Explosion and poison are pretty sweet, too I guess. Electricity has a cool effect, but only really applies to shielded enemies. All in all, the guns are great.

Story? Question mark? I know, I knowww…Borderlands has a lackluster story. I don’t care. I didn’t need it. I knew that I, as well as some other bad guys, was looking for a vault full of something and I had to kill lots of stuff to get to it in order to…save the world? Toooo get all the treasure? Both? Yeah it really doesn’t make sense, and the ending was a sad trombone. Gameplay was good though! I liked the RPG/Shooter amalgamation along with the questing and loot farming. Boss battles were awesome! I loved how bosses were revealed, and they had almost as much character as the NPC’s. They were memorable.

Split-screen Co-op was really enjoyable. I played split-screen with my husband, and that is something that I am all too sure enhanced my enjoyment of the game. I loved fighting bosses together, going over loot together, trading and altogether exploring Pandora with my hubby. We found some really creative ways to tackle some hard quests. (It’s important to note here that I played the sequel alone, which might account as to why I did not enjoy it as much as the first.)

Some of my favorite moments in this game were found in the DLCs. A straw hat wearing were-skag? YUP. A disgruntled general with an infant for a subordinate? CHECK. A strong, independent (KICK ASS) woman who don’t need no man? THERE. AN EPIC BOSS BATTLE THAT ENDS IN A THUNDERSTORM MONSOON OF LOOT?!?! *dies*
Sometimes I hear things in my everyday that remind me of Crawmerax. I found that the “you’re in the dark and you’re going crazy!” scratching noises in ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’ always take me back to that elevator ride to the battleground. Also, General Knoxx’s armory was like Christmas. I freakin’ love Christmas.

For all these reasons, the original Borderlands lands at number two in my favorite games of all time (so far). Have you played Borderlands? Did you prefer the second installment to the first? Find the thread for this post in the forums and let me know!

~Em

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My Favorite Video Games and Why: Part 1

Written by Emoryy86. Posted in Gamer Girl's Blog

So begins a series of articles that I have been very excited to write! I have played many, many games in my gaming lifetime. Some of them stand out from the rest. This short series will detail the games that have most influenced me and why!

Let’s start with my all-time (so far) favorite game: Journey.

It’s beautiful, haunting, confusing and fun. As much as I love this game, it took me two playthroughs to get there. I was incredibly disappointed with my first playthrough. The lack of dialogue made it hard for me to grasp the concept of what the game was trying to tell (show, rather) me. Now, after countless hours of sand-surfing and glyph-collecting I proudly answer the question at hand with this game, and insist that everyone play it. Let me tell you why:

  • The moment I laid eyes on my red caped and hooded character I was smitten. She (I’m assuming?) is a mysterious and faceless being, yet elegant in every move my controller conveys. Sliding down the dunes of the first level was incredibly rewarding. It’s just so…beautiful. And simple, yet truly enjoyable. I could spend all my time just surfing the sand in this game. I think that’s why the third level is my favorite. Oh, and the hallway in the fifth stage steals my breath every time. It’s just SO pretty.
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  • The story is the part of Journey that took me the longest to understand. There are no spoken words, and hieroglyphic cut scenes are the only visual representations of a story that are present. Every level ends with a cutscene that shows you a little bit more of what happened to this land and why there are stones sticking up out of the sand everywhere. In the end, the story I have gathered form Journey is one of a civilization very reminiscent of what ours could be; but you may see it quite differently. In the end, I rather enjoy the ambiguity of it.
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  • Shiny floating glyphs are scattered and hidden throughout the levels of Journey. Collecting them will lengthen the red scarf around your neck. Charging the scarf by interacting with red scarf pieces littered around the levels will allow you to fly instead of run. Although there is no dialogue present, there is communication. Multiplayer occurrences are random and completely anonymous (until the end!). You can “speak” to each other through a series of chips. Although you won’t be coherently conversing, you can usually get your point across just fine. I found that my companions chirped at me when trying to show me secrets they found or charge our scarves. Also, physically interacting with a companion charges both players’ scarves. I love the multiplayer implementation in Journey. I could only judge players when they came into my game by what they did and how they interacted with me. I haven’t met a companion I haven’t liked! Many of them are on my friends list now. These mechanics encourage affection and cooperation, and those are two of my favorite things.

It saddens me to think that Journey isn’t available to everyone. A PC port would be stellar, but I’m pretty sure they’ve made it quite clear that Journey will be a PS3 exclusive for awhile if not infinitely. So if you are a PS3 owner, try this game. If not, and you don’t plan on buying one, watch a Let’s Play! Pewdiepie has a great short series on the game, and you can tell he really appreciated the game for what it was.

Have you played Journey? Did you love it like me, hate it or feel indifferent? Do you think it deserves the hype (and nominations!) it got? Sound off below for some stimulating conversation!

~Em