Free Game Day: Kick the Critter

Categories: Gaming

It's Friday, and we know you're just going to play on the internet until it's time to leave work. Each week we'll be bringing you a free flash game to help the time pass!

Game: Kick the Critter
Genre: Distance
Made By: Simon "Lachhh" Lachance
Play at: Armor Games
Rating: 3 out of 5

I'm a huge fan of distance games. If you've never played the genre, you basically have an object and your goal is to hurl it as far as possible. In between hurls you upgrade your throwing mechanism, what you're throwing, or the environment you throw it through. It's pretty simple, and most games follow the formula rather unremarkably.

Kick the Critter is more ambitious than most, though. First of all, it's got kind of a cute story to it and a hell of a lot of personality. We go back to the time of the Great Flood, and Noah has gathered his menagerie. He's letting everyone on including alien grays and dragons, but when the critter asks for a seat Noah is all like "How 'Bout no LOL". Then she speeds off like the ark is a jet ski.

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Anita's Irony: Every Hater Proves Anita Sarkeesian Right

Categories: Gaming

Anita Sarkeesian
This week Anita Sarkeesian released yet another installment of her Tropes vs. Women series of videos detailing how women are portrayed in gaming and why exactly it's a problem that needs to change. In response, the internet did what the internet usually does and hurled insults and threats so brutal and specific that Sarkeesian actually left her home to stay with friends just to be safe.

This harassment of Sarkeesian has been going on from the day she first launched a Kickstarter campaign for her series and has continued unabated. It's given birth to a Law of the Internet known as Anita's Irony that states, "Online discussion of sexism or misogyny quickly results in disproportionate displays of sexism and misogyny."

In other words, literally every hateful comment and harassment campaign proves Sarkeesian right time and time again.

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How Video Games Are Fighting Mental Illness

Categories: Gaming

Alice: The Madness Returns
Typically, video games fight mental illness with knives and steampunk, but there may be a better way.
There are lots of people that will tell you that video games rot the mind and encourage violent and deranged behavior. Most of these will focus on titles like the Grand Theft Auto, or on the objectification of women in mainstream games that reinforces rape culture, or simply remark that actively participating in what is often brightly colored serial murder can't be mentally healthy and might be addictive.

The jury is still out on the subject, but the bright side is that video games are starting to make in-roads as a tool for helping combat mental illness. Sometimes in very interesting and innovative ways.

The first is through awareness. The recent suicide of Robin Williams and the sometimes callous and cruel remarks from observers should be all the proof we need that depression is still poorly understood by much of the general population. To say nothing of diseases like obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.

Doris C. Rusch of DePaul University thinks video games can change that. After all, it's an art form that is unique because it forces the player to participate rather than simply watch or experience the production. She's put together several games that replicate the symptoms of severe mental illness in order to try and share those experiences with the general population through the metaphor of a game.

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Free Game Day: Royal Warfare

Categories: Gaming

It's Friday, and we know you're just going to play on the Internet until it's time to leave work. Each week we'll be bringing you a free flash game to help the time pass!

Game: Royal Warfare
Genre: Battle Strategy
Made By: Idengames
Play at: Armor Games
Rating: 3 out of 5

Set in a somewhat medieval European fantasy land, suddenly zombies and skeletons are everywhere. However, the feudal lords decide that they will make a perfect slave class rather than a burning them to ash as God usually intends these things to go. Things go on great for a few years, but then the dead revolt and now an army of them marches across the world laying waste. You are one of the last kingdoms left that can resist the horde.

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Convention Recap: The Houston Con

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Jason David Frank, aka Tommy the Green Ranger and owner of Rising Sun Karate & Boxing in Humble, poses with fans.

Without having the numbers in front of us, it appeared that the new The Houston Con was a success. Sunday's attendance was rather light, but there was a bustling crowd on Saturday and even Friday looked pretty busy.

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First Look at The Houston Con

Chuck Cook Photography
The Houston Con made its debut today and runs through Sunday.

The Houston Con apparently has done a fine job of marketing, because even though this is a new con and this is a typical workday, there are a pretty good number of attendees. There are even some running around in costume. (I'm writing this at a table at the hotel Starbucks about 10 feet away from a vaping, heavily-bearded Batman. I didn't say they were all GOOD costumes, did I?)

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Free Game Day: The Great Magician's Curse: Magicians 2

Categories: Gaming

It's Friday, and we know you're just going to play on the Internet until it's time to leave work. Each week we'll be bringing you a free flash game to help the time pass!

Game: The Great Magician's Curse: Magicians 2
Genre: Sidescrolling Puzzler
Made By: Daniel Haslop and Tim Garratt
Play at: Armor Games
Rating: 4 out of 5

After a magic trick goes wrong you're forced to try to escape a series of deadly dungeons using only your ability to run and jump. Good thing you're aided by a series of creepy, disposable dopplegangers. Magicians 2 is like most great puzzle games; it's simplistic and murderously complicated at the same time. That's what makes Portal 2 one of the best games ever. As the ads used to say for the board game Othello, "A minute to learn, a lifetime to master".

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5 Reasons I'm Disappointed With My PS4

Categories: Gaming

The Playstation 4 is the first game console I've bought at launch since the Super Nintendo. That was more than a half a year ago, and I don't think I've played it more than once every couple of weeks since then.

It's not that it's a bad system, or that I regret buying it. I still think it's the best choice of the big three, but that's not really saying a whole lot. Things that have left me a little saddened are...

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5 Mind-Blowing Facts Hidden in Video Game Manuals

Categories: Gaming

eBay Seller lukiegames
If there's anything I truly miss about gaming as a kid (Aside from, you know, having the ability to play Final Fantasy VI for eight straight hours on a Saturday) it's game manuals. Oh, they still exist, sure, but they are to gaming what album inserts are to music. It's rare that you find one of any depth, beauty, or grace these days.

Part of that is the nature of gaming. I haven't played a game since 2006 that didn't walk you through every single mechanic found in the game as they're needed, so what's the point in printing instructions? And since the storytelling capabilities of modern gaming rival film, there's not much a manual can tell you in a paragraph about a character you won't learn in due course in the game.

In the olden days, though, manuals were the only way you'd ever learn some bizarre trivia. The game wasn't going to waste valuable kilobytes on that stuff in-game. Other mindblowing facts hidden in the manuals include...

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5 Upcoming Games That Make Me Want to Buy a Wii U

Categories: Gaming

Despite being a diehard Nintendo fan throughout most of my life, this is the first time I can remember where I didn't have a Nintendo console in the house. When I first got a chance to preview the Wii U prior to its debut I found it gimmicky and unwieldy. Much of what it promised seemed like rather needless improvements to the Wii, and the game selection really wasn't enough to make me consider dropping the cash on it when the PS4 seemed like the surer bet.

After some time to get going, though, the Wii U is starting to look more and more appealing. There's at least five games on the horizon that are making me reconsider dropping the cash on Nintendo's box.

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