5 Best Video Games (Used as Propaganda by Governments)

Categories: Gaming

I love propaganda.

No, really. I wholeheartedly love it when giant governments use enormous resources to try and fight a war of ideas instead of a war with guns. It's a hopeful sort of thing that led to stuff like the United States using Jackson Pollack paintings to show the folks behind the Iron Curtain that they were like so square man, and it helped in the freakin' Cold War.

Unfortunately, video games are not like other art forms, and fighting the war of ideas in this case usually means fighting it with the idea of way more guns. At least five, not inconsiderable powers have harnessed the might of the joystick in expressing their will.

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Does Ellie Being LGBT Change Playing The Last of Us?

Categories: Gaming

After the revelation of Ellie's kiss in Left Behind, the downloadable expansion to The Last of Us, I decided two things. One, that I was sufficiently over being terrified of the game the first time to give it another go, and two, that I was curious whether or not the game would feel different knowing that Ellie was gay.

When I first reviewed The Last of Us one of the things that I most applauded the game for was the character of Bill. Bill was Joel's smuggling contact, a paranoid loner that lived in the overrun and extremely booby-trapped town of Lincoln. Joel and Ellie meet up with Bill hoping to cash in some favors and get a car to head west in.

Bill is also gay, something that you don't realize until you come across the body of his ex-lover Frank. Frank had grown tired of Bill's small-mindedness and set-in-his-ways attitude, and had attempted to steal the car battery Bill was going to give to Joel. In the process he was bitten, infected, and hanged himself after leaving a very rude note for Bill to find.

What makes Bill and this chapter of the game so awesome is the fact that for the first time I can ever remember a major character in a Triple A game was homosexual and was actually a regular person. Bill's story and personality would not have changed a single iota if Frank had been Francine, and I saw it as a major step forward for portrayals of non-hetero characters in gaming.

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5 Famous Video Game Laughs (That Are Just Other Remixed Laughs)

Categories: Gaming

I remember being in elementary school playing Altered Beasts and being impossibly impressed when the game managed to open with Zeus actually talking to your character. Granted, "Rise from your grave" came out more "Wize Fromage Gay", but compared to what we had before that was a serious step forward.

Video game sound has gone on to including everyone from award-winning A-list Hollywood actors and actress as voice talent to having scripts longer than the freakin' Bible. Dynamic surround sound capabilities reached the ability to help guide a blind kid through Ocarina of Time, and that was on the N64. Truly, we are living in a golden age of sound.

But sometimes... meh. Gamemakers figure that they'll just remix something from a previous game and no one will ever notice. The practice seems especially prevalent when it comes to laughs, and a few famous ones have actually moonlighted their way in several different classic titles.

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Top 10 Portal Easter Eggs in Other Video Games

Categories: Gaming

If I have to pick a favorite video game of all time it would definitely be Portal 2. To my mind there has simply never been a more perfect mixture of inventive play, storyline, voice acting, graphics, and humor. Every day I open up Google and ask it what it knows about Portal 3 and every day it says "Please ask me something else, Jef. You need help."

Well, since I apparently have to wait until the stars align and bring me more GLaDOS sometime in the indeterminate future I guess I'll have to get my fix with other games. Unfortunately, even those games mock my pain since apparently the people who make them leave Portal

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Alex Zemke: Animating Ellie's Kiss in The Last of Us and Portal: Companionship

Categories: Gaming

Because it bears repeating every time the subject is brought up, The Last of Us was the best game of 2013. Recently we saw the story continue in the downloadable expansion Left Behind, an inspiring addition to the main story that was so good that it's prompted me to replay the whole experience over again.

Left Behind follows Ellie in two time periods. One occurs after Joel is severely injured in Salt Lake City and she is forced to fend for both of them while holed up in an abandoned mall in the dead of winter. These constitute the action portion of the expansion, offering up a chance to explore a new battle mechanic that allows you use baiting the infected with distractions to take out human raiders.

Outside of the action was a flashback to one last wonderful night between Ellie and her friend Riley. Riley had left the youth center where they were all training to be soldiers in order to join the rebellious Fireflies. Guilty that she had left without saying goodbye, she visits Ellie in the dead of night and they break into a different old mall and spend the evening playing video games, perusing an old Halloween shop, and dancing together. Ultimately, the two share a tender and unexpected kiss right before the infected flood in and they're forced to flee.

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Reviews for the Lazy Gamer: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

Categories: Gaming

Game: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

Platform: PS3, PS Vita

Publisher/Developer: Square Enix

Genre: RPG

Describe This Game in Three Words: The Complete Spira

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10 Questions We Need to Start Asking About Swords in 2014

We all have that friend who, despite whatever he or she tells you, keeps a sword hanging on his wall on the off chance he has to fend off a home invasion with his blade of choice. He may tell you that it's hanging on his wall because he appreciates the game/movie/historical era it comes from, but the truth, even if it's just on a subconscious level, is that he really hopes he actually gets to use it one day.

Or so I assume. Between you and me, I never understood the appeal of the "sword as wall decoration" thing when we live in a world where we could buy and mount dinosaur bones, album covers and diplomas onto our walls.

At least, I didn't understand until I read this story about how a Katy man defended himself from his girlfriend's ex-husband with a replica of the greatest video game weapon of all time, The Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda. That guy got to live the dream of everyone who has ever ordered a replica sword online.

Between The Katy Master Sword Home Defender, the Phoenix Light Rail Samurai, Game of Thrones and yet another Hobbit movie, it's a good time to be a fan of the sword, even if their existence in modern culture leads to all sorts of weird questions.

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Reviews for the Lazy Gamer: South Park: The Stick of Truth

Categories: Gaming

Game: South Park: Stick of Truth

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Obsidian

Genre: RPG

Describe This Game in Three Words: A Filthy Earthbound!

Plot: A new kid rolls into South Park and finds himself caught up in an epic LARP headed by Cartman, the Grand Wizard of the Kingdom of Kupa Keep. His job is to protect the Stick of Truth, an ancient relic that their enemies, the Drow Elves, seek to steal. Along the way literally every inappropriate thing possible happens.

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"Historically Accurate" Gladiator Game Can Have Orcs, But Not Women

Categories: Gaming

Over the past year I've noticed more and more women and girls getting better and more equal roles in video games. 2013 brought us the reboot Tomb Raider, Ellie in The Last of Us, a new game starring Lightning, the indie hit Contrast, and Esther in Ni no Kuni just to name a few. Not to mention that one of the hottest commodities in gaming right now is writer Rhianna Pratchett. You can't help but call that progress.

Unless you're a men's rights activist, in which case you decide to make a brave stand and pointedly not incorporate women into your game.

Vox Day is the developer of First Sword, a gladiator combat resource management game for mobile phones. In a recent post he had this to say.

I am designing and producing a game that does not, and will not, have a single female character in it. This is not because I am misogynistic. This is not because I do not women to play the game. This is because putting women in the game makes no sense, violates the principle of the suspension of disbelief, and will not make the game any better as a game.
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Reviews for the Lazy Gamer: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Categories: Gaming

Game: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Publisher/Developer: Konami/MercurySteam

Genre: Adventure

Describe This Game in Three Words: Dracula May Cry

Plot: Gabriel Belmont has become Dracula, and now rises in the modern world in order to face the return of Satan. If he defeats the Prince of Darkness, he is promised release from his immortal torment.

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