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Lollipop Chainsaw

Sonico photo
Sonico

Jessica Nigri is the new voice of Super Sonico


Former Lollipop Chainsaw front woman lands a new gig
Jan 24
// Jonathan Holmes
Jessica Nigri first showed up on my radar after she cosplayed Curly Brace from Cave Story. Applying that level of detail and craftsmanship to a relatively obscure character is the sign of a cosplayer who isn't in it jus...
Lollipop Chainsaw sales photo
Lollipop Chainsaw sales

Lollipop Chainsaw surpasses one million sales


Congrats, Grasshopper Manufacture!
Mar 08
// Kyle MacGregor
Worldwide sales of Lollipop Chainsaw have crossed the million mark, Grasshopper Manufacture has announced. The milestone took nearly two years to reach, following the saccharine zombie game's launch in June 2012. That may not...
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Juliet Starling gets lollipopping figurine


Get it? Cause Lollipop Chainsaw
Sep 27
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Either I totally missed it, or it's really about time someone made a Juliet Starling figurine. The chainsaw wielding hero from Lollipop Chainsaw will be getting a 1/8 scale figure, and is available for pre-order right now. Th...

Lollipop Chainsaw photo
Lollipop Chainsaw

Lollipop Chainsaw Valentine Edition now available


Import away!
Feb 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Valentine's Day has come and gone but the so-called most romantic day of the year has left one lasting festive treat for everyone to enjoy in its wake. The Lollipop Chainsaw Valentine Edition released on Thursd...
Warren Spector D.I.C.E. photo
Warren Spector D.I.C.E.

Warren Spector addresses violent games again at D.I.C.E.


Cites Lollipop Chainsaw as a game that 'should just not be made'
Feb 07
// Chris Carter
Speaking at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Summit today, designer Warren Spector took on the concept of how gaming content has changed over time, how tastes may change as you age, and how developers need to address those changes. To stres...
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Jimquisition Awards: Lollipop Chainsaw


Five Days, Five Games, Five Awards
Dec 20
// Jim Sterling
The very first Jimquisition Awards are here! Five days, five games, five awards! Games win awards for being innovative, intelligent, mature and memorable. Not many win them for being bloody funny. Lollipop Cha...
Lollipop Chainsaw import photo
Special re-release will need to be imported
Lollipop Chainsaw Valentine Edition has been announced for Japan, slated to arrive on February 14, 2013.  The special edition release will include a "perfect unlock code," as well as two DVDs, and computer stuff includi...

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Lollipop Chainsaw pornography is a thing that's happening


Because of course it is
Nov 10
// Kyle MacGregor
I suppose this was inevitable. I mean, this is a game featuring an eighteen-year-old zombie hunting cheerleader we're talking about here. And nothing about Japan should surprise me anymore. But I'm still a bit stunned to anno...
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Lollipop Chainsaw is Grasshopper's most shipped title


Aug 26
// Jonathan Holmes
This past weekend, Grasshopper Manufacture and Kadokawa games held a "Lollipop Chainsaw Summer Appreciation Event" in Japan. It's awesome that GhM and Kadokawa appreciate their game, but what did consumers think of it?  ...

James Gunn: Some sexism controversies are 'silly'

Jul 20 // Jim Sterling
"Here's the thing. People online -- and in life in general -- are always looking for reasons to be 'right.' They look for ways to be morally superior by making someone else 'wrong,' or some work of art 'wrong.' That's what both the Lollipop Chainsaw controversy and the Tomb Raider controversy are mostly about. They're people looking to be outraged and offended so they can let off some steam.   "In LC's case I say 'more power to them.' I believe they've helped to bring attention to a very small game and turn it into a very big game," he continued. "Our sales are way beyond what we could have ever imagined, and I think that those offended helped in some small way. In Tomb Raider's case, a much bigger property, I think they're being a little unfair, and I think we need to wait to see the game. I remember when Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ came out and all those people were picketing, and none of them had seen the movie. These people are pretty much the same. Fifty years ago they probably also would have been calling up the Ed Sullivan show, protesting Elvis's hip movements." Gunn also had a few words to say about the issues surrounding the notorious Hitman trailer.  "What was poor Hitman supposed to do!? The poor guy was being attacked by those nuns in garter belts with huge guns," he argued. "OF COURSE he had to hit them and shoot them and strangle them. It was his life or theirs! What controversial about that?! "Oh, I see ... you mean that the creators decided to make the sexy nuns in the first place. Well, admittedly, that trailer IS shocking as hell. But, that's the point, isn't it? I think 'shocking' is written into the Hitman franchise's DNA.  As for the 'controversy' surrounding it, I just watched the trailer again on YouTube -- there were 3,200 'likes' and 130 'dislikes.' That doesn't really seem controversial. Obviously most people don't give a shit." Gunn closed by saying that a lot of the controversies are made up by news sites looking for content -- though he was kind enough to give Destructoid a free pass, stating that everything we post is "100% necessary." Thanks, James! As for Gunn's opinion on these controversies, I'm not as willing as he is to write any of them off. Even if some of the debacles are silly -- and I certainly agree that there is too much anger surrounding them, on both sides of the fence -- I still think the end result is beneficial. The fact that these discussions are happening, and exposing gamers to fresh perspectives, is ultimately a good thing, as I argued in my video series a while back. Some engrossing debate has been had, and I like to believe a good number of us have learned a lot.  Some elements have gotten too far, with people harassing and trying to take each other down, but I think the reasonable and rational among us will ultimately benefit from these storms. Maybe I'm just being far too optimistic ... but I'd rather be that than perpetually upset by the whole thing.  In any case, be sure to check out our full interview with James Gunn, as he discusses Lollipop Chainsaw and the issues of sexism in greater depth. 
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The videogame industry has had a fair few controversies pertaining to gender equality lately, with both Hitman: Absolution and Tomb Raider coming under heavy criticism for the way women have been used in their marketing. Acco...

Lollipop Chainsaw's James Gunn talks sexiness and sexism

Jul 18 // Jim Sterling
"Essentially, it's true," said Gunn, discussing Nick's objectification. "Nick is objectified by Juliet -- he's literally turned into an accessory, a commodity, and his humanity is denied. Nick is not only emasculated, he is SUPER emasculated. He starts off as this cool high school jock, and he thinks his girlfriend is this demure cheerleader, and then discovers she is a thousand times tougher -- that is, more traditionally 'masculine' -- than he'll ever be. And, on top of that, he loses his body and penis (which is just sort of the straw that broke the camel's back)." "But within this emasculation, Nick has to find some worth other than being the strong one. He needs to find strength through trust. And Juliet needs to learn how to let go of control. So, yes, that is definitely gender role reversal. That said, while writing it, I didn't think of this in terms of gender, I thought of it in terms of character and plot. I think males and females -- and especially teenage males and females -- tend to commodify each other and that's a dangerous thing to any relationship." The idea for Nick as a magically resurrected head came from -- who else -- director Suda 51. Gunn can't take credit for the initial idea, but would share how he came up with Nick's personality and overall influence on the narrative.  "He was always a head -- or at least from the first time I interacted with Suda, he was," Gunn explained. "I helped to change things about the general look of the characters, but the fact that he was a head hanging from Juliet's waist seemed to be a part of Suda's original vision. The story stuff, the relationship and commodification through-lines, their personalities and dialogue, that was my addition." "When I came on board, there was no conflict at all in Nick and Juliet's relationship. The visuals were coming into place, but it was pretty much all 'I love you, baby!' 'I love you too!' I wanted to add some conflict between the two of them, something that both of them needed to learn, and something that approached a three-act structure. It seemed natural to me that Nick would be upset about being a head, and would feel emasculated. And Juliet is still in the early stages of the relationship, where she sees Nick more as an ideal and less as an actual person." Regardless of what Lollipop Chainsaw says about relationships and no matter how much it objectifies Nick, there's no escaping the fact that Grasshopper's game features a cheerleader in a very skimpy skirt who isn't shy about providing gratuitous panty shots. The game has been accused of objectifying the lead character, and it's certainly difficult to deny it. James Gunn, for his part, doesn't try to, but he refuses to classify the game as "sexist" in any way.   "Well, listen, like it or not we are, actually, all objects," he responded. "Our physical forms -- and the idealized forms of those physical forms we find in pop culture -- are something most of us find appealing, whether it's Juliet's butt or Batman's ripped abs. Lollipop Chainsaw is titillating, for sure. A lot of that is just because Lollipop Chainsaw took an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach -- it's utterly shameless in that regard. And there's a lot of grindhouse and Russ Myer in LC -- a fun, floppy, over-the-top sexuality that plays with those old forms but is self–aware of them the entire time." "But I think it's important people don't confuse sexuality with sexism. There is nothing in the game, ever, that makes females somehow less than males. To be honest, I think a lot of the criticisms of LC's 'sexism' are really coming from a place where the secret message is sex is bad, sexual attraction is bad, lust is bad. I was raised Catholic: I get it. Yes, Juliet Starling is hot as hell. And, yes, that probably helps to sell copies of the game. But my question is, so what? How in the world does that convey that women are less than men?" "If you're saying that Juliet Starling is, like Barbie, an impossible ideal that makes women feel bad about their own bodies in comparison well, okay. You have a point there," he continued. "But welcome to NEARLY EVERY SINGLE THING IN POP CULTURE EVER. I am an avid reader of Marvel comics and, believe me, Wolverine's ass makes me feel shitty about my own ass in comparison. Wolverine has got a tight, hot ass. If I watch the Bachelorette and those dudes take their tops off and every one of them has amazing pecs -- yeah, that makes me feel like crap as well." "I work out every fucking day. I don't know how these people do it. So, yeah, I look forward to the day I can make a videogame with a chick with flat, droopy boobs and fat butt who's still sexy, or a superhero with a pot belly who still knows how to come off looking cool. I would love to be a part of that movement. However, I'm not sure I can get away with it today." While Gunn will defend Juliet's sexuality and agrees with the points concerning Nick's role in the story, he interestingly countered those pundits who argued for the protagonist as a bastion of female empowerment. He stated that he disagreed with Juliet Starling being a symbol of such a thing.  "I mean, I guess she is, in some ways, but truthfully, although Juliet is remarkably good at fighting supernatural beasts, she's a fully developed character all to herself. She's smart about some things, dumb about others. She can be remarkably kind and remarkably self-involved. She's a cartoon, but she's also a person. Like many of the characters I've had a hand in creating, I have a real love for her. But she's not better or worse than anyone else, in terms of who she is as a person. I believe when characters become symbols of female empowerment it is, in many ways, a reaction to sexism that is sexist in itself -- you're still taking away a woman's humanity and replacing her with a symbol." Lollipop Chainsaw has been but one element in an ongoing and increasing discussion of women and their treatment in the game industry. I asked Gunn -- as somebody who's worked with both games and movies -- whether or not the videogame industry had a particularly unique problem with women, something that it needed to address moreso than other media.  "First of all, let me say, I think the gamer community has a big problem with women, and that is that so few women are in the industry! Going around to gaming conventions, I was shocked by the small percentage of women who work in gaming -- there are barely any on the creative side, nor on the business side, nor on the journalistic side. I think more than worrying about how fictional women are treated in fictional worlds, we should care about how real women are treated in our real world -- and that means hiring more of them within the gaming world, on all sides of the business. That, of course, would affect how women are treated in games as well." "Other than that, I really think we need to create women as more full characters," he stressed. "I think games are even worse than movies in this respect, and movies are pretty fucking awful. If you want to see sexism in entertainment in action, look at 95% of mainstream film comedies. There are a bunch of funny, multi-dimensional guys with interesting characteristics, and then you have one female character who is 'the girl' whose only real trait is that she's pretty. By creating full characters you automatically combat sexism." Women as actual characters? How novel! But seriously, it's a noble endeavor, and something we need more of in all media. It would also be great to see more of a female character being built for her own sake, not serving merely as a patronizing, counter-culture symbol. Then again, perhaps some of these symbols are required right now, to beat audiences in the head until they're ready to accept female protagonists who offer more than gratuitous sexuality or moral messages that women are empowered. It's obviously sad that this should have to be a conversation in the first place, but I'm glad that the game community is, at least, talking about it.  I'm glad, also, that Gunn spoke with us about Lollipop Chainsaw and his approach to creating a sexy -- not necessarily sexist -- character. Agree or disagree, I think it's at least a step forward that we're analyzing this stuff rather than brushing it under the carpet, and as such, thank Gunn for speaking with us.
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Love it or hate it, Lollipop Chainsaw has opened the floor for some interesting discussions, especially with regards to its portrayal of women. Is it objectifying female game characters? Is it subverting that object...

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Party time: Lollipop Chainsaw ships 100,000 in Japan


Jul 15
// Kyle MacGregor
Kadokawa Games, Grasshopper Manufacture's publishing partner in Japan, has announced that the ever so divisive Lollipop Chainsaw has reached the 100,000 mark in terms of domestic shipments. Suda 51's game never tend to d...

Talking to Women about Videogames: Lollipop Chainsaw Pt 2

Jul 07 // Jonathan Holmes
Juliet Vs. The Zombies Lollipop Chainsaw's take on the zombie concept appears pretty traditional at first sight. The majority of the zombies in the game are expressions of the Freudian concept of the ID. They do not value other people's existence, and their psyches have no filters. If they want to fuck your father, they'll feel no shame in telling you so. They are animals, chaotic and evil, ready to kill and hump and destroy. The main thing that makes them different from a lot of other zombies is the amount of shapes and sizes they come in. They come in all forms of mindlessness: mindless sports fan zombies, mindless suicide bomber zombies, mindlessly territorial farmer zombies, and even mindlessly videogame-addicted zombies are all part of the show. People often think that pornography is only sexual content, but by my definition, it's anything that speaks to the animal side of us. These zombies represent all that. The arcade zombies are probably my favorite, as they don't even notice Juliet at first. They're too preoccupied with their games. As someone who's achieved a zen-like mental emptiness on many occasions while high score hunting, it was easy for me to laugh at both those zombies and at myself. It also says something about videogame fans in general. Overall, our brand of mindlessness is lot more harmless than the kind you may find on a football field or the sharp end of a backhoe.  That said, even the arcade zombies are pretty violent once they get going. All of the game's zombies are aggressively, relentlessly attracted to Juliet (except for the zombie chickens), which is a pretty accurate reflection of our culture's mindless and idiotic love/hate obsession with the "all-American babe" archetype. The world loved Britney Spears, then loved to watch her suffer after she fell from grace. Either way, we focused on her. The zombies in Lollipop Chainsaw suffer the same compulsion. So where does the compulsion come from? Probably from a lot of places. Some of it is sublimated rage that comes from being spurned by a woman that's "out of their league." That's what drives Swan, the game's evil ringleader, to create the zombie epidemic in the first place. Having always been mocked and rejected by "normal" people, he's always felt that the world was filled with hostile, dehumanizing bastards. The zombie apocalypse is just a manifestation of how he always saw the world.  All of the game's bosses (with the exception of killabilly, the game's final boss) represent resentful outsiders who have been taught by our society that beautiful cheerleaders like Juliet are more valuable than "ordinary" people, and resent Juliet for her privileged existence. Killabilly is different in that he represents the gigantic, endless appetite of American culture. He actually wants Juliet to love him, but he also wants to eat her alive. Either way, it's all about him, and nothing is ever enough. Regardless if they are angry punk rock zombies or simple, cannibalistic zombies, they're still zombies. It doesn't matter if they see Juliet as an object of lust or as a symbol for everything that's wrong with pop culture. Either way, they're still objectifying her. They're still treating her like a piece of meat. Thankfully for Juliet, there is an upside to being objectified. Being treated that way gives her full license to treat the zombies with the same level of insensitivity. They see her as a piece of meat to be sexually or philosophically destroyed, and she see them as pieces of meat ready to be carved for fun and profit. The difference between the zombies and Juliet is, she didn't start this fight, but she sure as hell knows how to finish it.   In a world where so many videogames are about men who treat sex like a self-interested mini-game, and treat all women like either prostitutes and/or potential murder victims, it's nice to see a game about a women who takes great joy in beheading anyone who would dare to take that tact with her. [Original Art by Sarah T.] Upskirts Vs. Plumbers Butt So what makes Juliet more capable than the zombies? I think a lot of it is due to how much she enjoys expressing herself, and how little she suffers from being self conscious. She's turns the act of slaughter into an art, but it's not performance, as Juliet doesn't care who might be watching her. She's doing it for herself. The opinions of others don't matter. If a punk rock zombie calls her a "vanillaslut," she'll cut the words in half with her chainsaw, and cut him in half next. Their words can't hurt her and their "objectifying gaze" doesn't matter, which brings us to the upskirts.  While the majority of Lollipop Chainsaw is made up of gameplay which features very little in the way of sexually charged content, the game's cut scenes do have quite a few blatant upskirt moments. I didn't notice this at first, in part because I played a lot of the game with Juliet either dressed as Ash from The Evil Dead, or as a giant stuffed rabbit. That's just part of it, though. Another reason I didn't notice all the upskirts is that, like Juliet, I just don't care about upskirts. Upskirts are a fetish that doesn't appeal to me. They play on society's notion of a woman's sexuality as being like candy (or in this specific case, lollipops); it's both sweet and bad for you, and you shouldn't give into your urge to have some. Making a woman's sexuality forbidden makes it all the more exciting to some when some of it slips out. A woman in a bikini has very little fetish potential, but a woman who is fully dressed who accidentally shows you a glimpse of her underwear causes some people to flip out. Add the idea of the woman in question being in high school, and the "I want it because it's wrong" fetish factor shoots straight through the roof.  Juliet knows this, but for the most part, she just don't care. She'll cover up if the player intentionally moves the camera to try to look up her skirt, but other than that, she's not concerned either way about who sees her bloomers. Like a plumber who carelessly unsheathes his ass crack while bending over to get at your sink, Juliet is unafraid of anyone who might see her buns as she she bends over to allow her boyfriend Nick to make eye contact with friends or family. Also like the plumber, it doesn't occur to her that she could or should be treated as a fetish object. So why bother covering up, especially when the world is mostly populated with a bunch of soulless zombies? It's an awesome idea, one that someone such as myself, who had a scant 15 minutes of fame at one point in life, can very easily relate to. There was a time when I had to completely reject the idea of caring if people were objectifying me or intent on metaphorically "eating me alive" if I was going to get anything done. It was a lesson I took with me and have tried to harness in my videos for Destructoid, which often involve trying to prove a point by casting myself in the part of the fool.  So it's easy for me to put myself in Juliet's shoes. Lollipop Chainsaw works as an excellent metaphor for what my college and high school experiences often felt like. The fact that the game pulls this off with a female lead is good thing, right? It shows that gender isn't always a barrier, and that men can relate with aspects of femininity and vice versa, right?  Maybe that's true. The other possibility is that I'm just playing another game created by a man, made for a primarily male audience, and that's why it's so easy for me to relate to Juliet. Like so many of today's female videogame characters, she's a metaphorical man in drag -- the representation of a man's idea of what a woman could be, and not an expression of the experiences that women have had. Juliet Vs. A Male's Gaze As much as I love the character of Juliet, and feel as though she is a valid virtual extension of myself, I would still never pronounce that she's "a great woman in gaming." That's really not for me to say either way. As I am not a woman, and have never been a woman, I have no idea if she does a good job of giving women a voice in the world of gaming. That's up for the women of the world to decide. From what I've heard, some women have told me that they were immediately annoyed with Juliet, and were sad that she didn't "own and enjoy" her sexuality like Bayonetta or Lara Croft did. I've heard other women say that they absolutely love Juliet, and can deeply relate with the fact that she's partially ashamed of her love of zombie slaughter. They've told me that it's exactly how they feel about being gamers -- that they've often been afraid to tell people that they have a side to them that loves games packed with wanton violence, but that it's a side of themselves that they can't ever keep in the closet for long. Still other women have told me that they think it's quite clear that Lollipop Chainsaw is a game created by a man for other men, but that doesn't disqualify the game from offering a badass portrayal of a woman. One friend told me -- "Sure, Juliet was clearly created by a guy, but unlike a lot of games, she was created by a guy that thinks femininity is pretty awesome. They also hired a woman to do her visual design, which is a good sign. Considering how many guys refuse to play as a female character, and how many developers won't include the option to play as women in their games, I'd say that Lollipop Chainsaw is a step in the right direction." Hopefully I got the point across that in our current culture, where female protagonists are still in the minority in gaming as a whole (even in games based on movies about women), an empowered tribute to traditional concepts of girlhood like Juliet is something we'd do well to consider (even if she was created by men). So that's enough about Lollipop Chainsaw for now, though I still have plenty more I wish I had the time and the space to talk about. That might have to wait for the sequel, assuming we ever get one. Regardless of whether you like the game or not, I think it's clear that there are still plenty of stories that could be told with a character like Juliet.  Boy would it be interesting if it turned out that Juliet had a detachable penis the whole time.
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[Talking to Women about Videogames is a series where Jonathan Holmes talks to different people who are women about the biggest videogame news of the week for some reason.] In this, the second part of a two-part series a...

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Killer is Dead looking to improve upon Lollipop Chainsaw


Jul 02
// Kyle MacGregor
Even as a massive Suda fan I'll be the first to admit that Lollipop Chainsaw hasn't been my favorite release of the year. Despite our glowing review of the title, it's had a pretty mixed reception around the co...
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The Question: Can videogames make you feel ashamed?


Jun 30
// Jonathan Holmes
[Every Friday (or whenever), Destructoid will pose topical a question to the community. Answer it if you want!] Atlus recently put out a trailer for the 3DS beat 'em up Code of Princess, and reactions were generally positive,...

Talking to Women about Videogames: Lollipop Chainsaw Pt 1

Jun 29 // Jonathan Holmes
Juliet vs. Sexual Objectification One of the first things a lot of people thought when they saw Juliet Starling was "great, another vapid masturbatory fantasy, so this game is going to suck!" It's an understandable guess to make, but it's inaccurate. Sure, men and women are certain to masturbate to the idea of Juliet Starling, but the fact that some people think that automatically makes the game trash is a pretty terrible. It's sad that so many people are still quick to judge a woman (even a fictional one like Juliet) by her appearance alone. As I've found from the comments on Dtoid's YouTube page, there are still plenty of people who are quick to demean a woman because she chooses to dress in a sexually provocative way, and on the flip side, there are plenty of people who aren't necessarily attracted to Juliet who are just as quick to "slut-shame" her under the same pretenses. What's really strange to me is that Juliet isn't even that provocative! She doesn't moan, strip, or act horny at random times like Bayonetta did. She's in great shape, but she's not cartoonishly proportioned like the gang from Senran Kagura. She's more covered up than most female Street Fighter, Dead or Alive, OneChanbara, and SoulCalibur characters, or even real life celebrities. Compared to Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Snooki, and Katy Perry, Juliet is practically Martha Stewart. So why is it that Juliet has struck such a chord of lust with horny misogynists and of disdain with those who are desperate to see less sexual objectification in gaming today? I think it's because Juliet represents something bigger than just sex. She is Britney Spears in the ...Baby One More Time video. In fact, Juliet even says, "Oops, I did it again," at one point in the game. She is every booth babe, every Lolita fantasy, every tacked-on ounce of unnecessary sex that hormone-crazed teens have been trained to fetishize and anyone who cares about women's issues has grown to loathe. So why is that a good thing? There are a lot of reasons, but first among them is that Lollipop Chainsaw shows that this representation of modern femininity is more than just a doll to be trifled with. She is (quite literally) a grown-up Powerpuff Girl, a fully developed human being who seamlessly joins the love of the adorable and the disgusting into one cohesive whole. Juliet may be cute, but like she says, "she has a chainsaw" and enjoys using it. We'll get more into that later. For now, lets get into where Juliet comes from, and how she ended up growing into the woman that she is.  Juliet vs. Her Family Juliet sees the world through a fairly limited scope. She has the zombies, which are only good for exterminating; her helpless acquaintances, who are only worth anything if she manages to rescue them (and collect the "ego reward" that comes with that, paid out in zombie medals); and her family. Only her family are "real" human beings to Juliet. Her relationships with them show us who Juliet wants to be, who she respects, and who she dismisses. She looks up to her mother (the woman who taught her to "wear her vagina with pride") and her father (a DILF who isn't afraid to show a little skin and kick some zombie ass) in equal measure. I get the feeling that these two didn't bring her up to think that little girls are made of "sugar, spice, and everything nice" while boys are made of "snakes, snails, and puppy dogs' tails." It seems more like she was taught that she's made of "sugary-snails and rainbows' entrails." That would explain why she's so comfortable in mixing the "feminine" pursuit of cheerleading with the "masculine" exercise of whipping a chainsaw through the air like only horror film anti-heroes have done before. To Juliet, those two things don't appear that different. They are both physical expressions of freedom, fun, and mastery of one's personal space. We can assume she learned that from her folks. Cordelia is Juliet's other big role model. She's Juliet's big sister and is even more gender-rebellious and adept at controlling her personal space. Whereas Juliet is all pigtails, a skirt, and tank top, Cordelia rocks an androgynous faux hawk and is pretty much covered from head to toe in an outfit that would look badass on either sex. She's also packing a sniper rifle, which gives her a greater range to control (or in this case, destroy) the world around her than Juliet is capable of. It's Cordelia who grants Juliet the chainsaw upgrade that allows her to take out zombies from a distance. It's from her that she gains even greater control of her space and less reliance on the physical. The fact that this is someone who Juliet looks up to says a lot about her character. Then we have Juliet's little sister, Rosalind. She works as Juliet's foil, filled with the same lighthearted, joyful enthusiasm and fascination with death and destruction that Juliet has, but unlike her big sister, she hasn't learned to harness it. That gets her in trouble a lot, and she's as close as the game comes to a "damsel in distress," although that's not saying a lot in a game as filled with powerful women as Lollipop Chainsaw. Overall, Rosalind is more like the Tasmanian Devil than Princess Peach. There is merit to living her life like that, as she's having fun and killing a lot of zombies, but without Juliet to clean up her messes, she'd probably end up dead, or worse, a hippy. Like most younger teens, she's prone to falling in with the wrong crowd (in this case, a zombie hippy and a zombie funk alien in a diaper). It's up to Juliet, who has a firmly established identity, to help bail her out of those situations. Finally, we have the men in her life. Morikawa, her martial arts teacher, shares some of Rosalind's unhinged, youthful spirit, though there is more of a dichotomy there. He is both a lecherous pervert and a spiritual guru. His body is old but small like a child's, which makes his lecherous intentions less threatening. Juliet could easily overpower him physically if it came to that. Despite his relative harmlessness, he doesn't get away with being a creeper (which is another of Lollipop Chainsaw's themes). Morikawa's pervy ways are closely associated with his physical death, as he repeatedly bumps into into Juliet's bosom during his death throws. In the end, his spirituality grants him safe passage to heaven, though strangely enough, his little boy's body still has a role to play later in the game. Which brings us to the relationship that is most central to Lollipop Chainsaw, that between Juliet and her boyfriend Nick.  Juliet vs. Nick As I mentioned, Jim Sterling already wrote an amazing article on how Nick is objectified in Lollipop Chainsaw. I won't attempt to go over that ground again, since there is plenty more to say about this guy. He may be the most interesting male in gaming today. Like Jim said, Nick is treated like an object in the game, but he's also a subject. He's the epitome of the ideal boyfriend and a role model for males who want to some day have a girlfriend like Juliet. He's also a decapitated head. Make no mistake, these two facts are not unrelated. Nick starts off as a regular guy, which in Lollipop Chainsaw means that he may turn into a zombie at any moment. Sure enough, just a few seconds into his first appearance, he's bitten by a zombie and is about to be turned into a cannibalistic, undead maniac, ruled only by his primitive drives. That's the exact kind of guy Juliet does not want to date! Juliet takes matters into her own hands and separates Nick's head from his body, keeping his mind safe from the "impurities" that existed in every aspect of him from the neck down. Perhaps surprisingly, Juliet is not particularly unhappy with this turn of events. She may even see it as an upgrade. With just a head, she gets all the pros and none of the cons of having a boyfriend. She can still talk to him, joke with him, trade compliments with him, keep him close, and (as is hinted in the beginning of Chapter 4) do the things that women and men's heads sometimes do together, all without the troubles that tend to come from a male's body getting in the way. I've been treated like "just a head" by prior girlfriends, so it was very easy for me to relate to Nick. I can also say that it's not so bad being just a head. Sometimes you feel like just an accessory or like the relationship isn't entirely equal. The truth is, though, that no relationship is equal. What matters is that the love is equal, and that's what Nick and Juliet have, in spite of (or maybe because of) the fact that he's just a head. Still, it's not like Juliet is totally shallow. On those rare occasions that Nick gains a body for a brief period of time, she's quick to treat him like a star, even though he's obviously one of the most physically uncoordinated human beings "alive." That kind of blind love is something that I've experienced plenty of times, and it's nothing short of adorable to see it bloom between Nick and Juliet. Love almost always leads to a melding of identities, and Nick and Juliet's love is no different. By the end of the game, Nick says that he wants to be like Juliet, no matter how dangerous it is. In order to do that, he has to take control of Killabilly, the ultimate representation of American lust and gluttony (again, more on that later) by joining his head with that monster's body. In order to destroy all the ugliness and instinct-ridden perversity that makes up a man's body, he has to full accept it by joining with it, then kill himself. He is every male that ever admitted to a woman that he is a privileged, disgusting asshole, and that he's willing to kill those parts of himself in order to become a better person. His reward for his sacrifice is a second chance at life in a new body, the boy-like body of Morikawa-sensei to be exact. Due to some mystical weirdness, Nick and Morikawa become one, with Morikawa's soul somewhere in the cosmos, and Nick fully in control of his tiny frame. So in the end, Nick still escapes the curse of having a man's body. With the head of an adult but the nonthreatening body of a child, Nick can continue to be the kind of boyfriend who Juliet wants while gaining enough autonomy to have at least a limited amount of control over his physicality. For Nick and Juliet, that's about as good as it's going to get.  End of Part 1 That just the start of some of the stuff I got from Lollipop Chainsaw. It's really a new take on relationships for Grasshopper, one that I find endlessly fascinating. Whereas Suda's prior title, Shadows of the Damned, was the story of a man (Garcia Hotspur) overcoming his relationship issues (fear of his woman being taken away by a more "well-endowed" man, fear that her sexual power over him would give her too much control, fear of her dying, fear that his penis would run out of bullets, etc.), Lollipop Chainsaw's narrative is largely about Juliet's immediate mastery over her relationships and her general sense of mastery over the world around her. It's her capacity to coexist within the stereotypically masculine (chainsaw) and feminine (cheerleading) aspects of herself that allow her to gain that level mastery. That's something Garcia learns far too late in his adventure. Juliet has just about all those skills right from the start, and they only grow as the game goes on. That's just one of the many reasons why she's one of the few videogame characters I look up to. But I'm getting ahead of myself. In Part 2 of this two-part analysis, we'll be taking a look at Juliet's more violent relationships. It's Juliet vs. The Zombies, Juliet vs. Juliet, and Juliet Vs. A Male's Gaze, coming up in a day or two (depending on how much writer's block I have between now and then).
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[Talking to Women about Videogames is a series where Jonathan Holmes talks to different people who are women about the biggest videogame news of the week for some reason.][Header art by Linzb0t.] Out of all of Grassho...

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Suda 51 talks mass acceptance, Lollipop Chainsaw, NMH3


Jun 21
// Jonathan Holmes
The weirdest thing happened yesterday. Suda 51, creator of No More Heroes, Lollipop Chainsaw, Killer 7, Shadows of the Damned, and many other strange and wonderful games called me up and said "Hey, let's pretend we're back a...
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Here are our Lollipop Chainsaw contest winners!


Jun 18
// mrandydixon
Last week, we asked you to be our Dtoid cheerleaders in order to win a box full of Lollipop Chainsaw goodies. The results were a mix of hilarious, disturbing, and ... well, more disturbing. Sadly, only ten of you could walk a...

Objectification and Lollipop Chainsaw

Jun 18 // Jim Sterling
As an eighteen-year-old cheerleader, Lollipop Chainsaw's Juliet Starling seems quite obviously built to fulfill the fantasies of a male audience, and I'm certainly not going to claim that wasn't the intention. She bends over every few minutes to give us a glimpse of what's under her insanely short skirt, and she's not afraid to fight an undead horde wearing nothing but a bikini. I do not think anybody could deny that she, as a character, is objectified in the game. Whether you think it matters or not is up to you, whether you think it's played for genuine sexual satisfaction or sheer comedy is also a fine debating point. It's not the kind of objectification I want to talk about, however. I am actually talking about a character who is literally objectified when he is bitten by a zombie and decapitated by Juliet in an attempt to save his life. The magically resurrected talking head that is the heroine's boyfriend, Nick.  From the outset, Nick's plight in Lollipop Chainsaw fascinated me. He spends the majority of the game hanging from Juliet's backside with little more to do than comment on the current situation and helplessly scream in terror whenever his living transportation does something reckless. Nick, as one of a handful of male heroes in the game, is absolutely powerless, rendered unable to perform even the simplest of tasks by himself and existing utterly at the mercy of his girlfriend.  When Nick is able to help Juliet out, it is only as a tool. An item. An object. He's tossed around, whipped about, and thrown without much in the way of consideration for his well-being. Even when temporarily crammed onto the headless body of a zombie and given a brief level of control, he's still not in charge. In fact, players don't even get to directly handle the man's movements, instead completing timed button presses to drive him forth while Juliet patronizingly cheers for each struggling, flailing step.  Without his body, and completely powerless, Nick is frequently idealized and assessed by female characters who have little to no regard for how their words make him feel. Both of Juliet's sisters talk about the benefits of having a boyfriend with no head -- benefits to them, of course, not the boyfriend -- and review his aesthetic qualities despite Nick making it perfectly clear how uncomfortable he is. Juliet, as Nick's self-appointed guardian and protector, seems totally oblivious to his feelings, frequently telling him how much she loves him even as the wretched creature teeters on the verge of quite understandable despair.  The scene that truly made me stop and think about Nick's role in the story was one that involved the entire Starling family, consisting of Juliet, her two sisters, and her father. While the Starlings plan their raid on the next undead target, Juliet's youngest sister, Rosalind, is forcing makeup onto Nick's face. Holding him forcefully in place and delivering a humiliating makeover, neither Rosalind or her sisters are capable of understanding why Nick is upset by his treatment -- treatment made all the more worse when Juliet's father tells Nick off for screwing around and threatens to deal with him if he continues being disruptive. It's all played for laughs, of course, and is quite funny, but when you look at what is happening to Nick, you see him suffering through several issues that commonly affect women, especially in the game industry.  Mr. Starling in particular seems to embody a particularly alarming issue in modern culture, made all the more pertinent by the fact that he is a male character -- victim blaming. Blaming the victim is something that people seem to love doing more and more these days, especially when women are concerned. Whether it's guys insinuating that a woman dressed as a "whore" was asking to be raped, or that someone being made uncomfortable by sexual harassment should have "said something" despite the pressure she was under to keep her mouth shut or politely smile, there's a lot of blame being thrown around by society's peanut gallery, and a less than deserved portion of it ever seems to reach the person who started whatever problem occurred.  Base objectification, physical and emotional idealization, harassment, all perpetrated by characters who seem totally indifferent to how their behavior might affect the target of their activities. The sheer selfishness of the heroines seems to mirror the attitudes that many men can have towards women, an attitude typified by Juliet when she refuses to kill Nick. At one point, her disembodied boyfriend begs for abandonment (and the inevitable death it would result in), having zero quality of life and feeling like he's lost everything that made him a person. Even as he asks for mercy, Juliet refuses, and gives a reason that sums up the relationship between them perfectly -- "I love you." Her reason for keeping Nick alive in a state that's less than human is because of her feelings and what she wants.  It reminds me of certain justifications for problems that have arisen in the gamer community before. It's been said by some that sexual harassment is just a "part of the culture" of online gaming, as if to say that anybody who has a problem with it needs to go away and not express their feelings of discomfort. People hate considering others because of a fear of how it might inconvenience them, and they dehumanize their opposition, render their feelings a moot point, and disregard the potential impact of their own decisions. When a female industry member like Jennifer Hepler is harassed, the scrabbling for excuses and assertions that it was her fault fly in thick and fast. Oh, she started it by saying something we didn't like, she shouldn't have acknowledged the harassment, if she'd just let us continue to insult and degrade her, we would have stopped eventually, so she is to blame.  Because of these reminders, Nick's character started to make me feel uncomfortable. I felt uncomfortable because this was a character being blatantly turned into an object, mistreated, harassed, humiliated, and ultimately blamed for his own indignity. It's done to an exaggerated degree, but exaggeration is often needed to shine a glaring spotlight on something. As a result, I started to feel colder toward Juliet as a character because she was, in some scenes, a complete and utter creep.  And that, as far as I can assess, is the underlying brilliance of Lollipop Chainsaw. Yes, Juliet is showing her skin constantly and many male gamers will likely ignore all subtext in order to gawp at her arse, but for me, I can't help thinking about Nick's plight, and how it reflects upon real girls in real high schools and beyond into adulthood. By turning the tables, and by placing a male figure into those situations, it goes some way toward making a character that's easier for men to identify with. The outright emasculation of Nick is certainly terrifying enough for a person who shares his gender, and opens the door to sympathizing with the rest of the trials he faces. Who knows? Maybe three or four gamers out there will then make the logical conclusion that, hey, women are kind of treated this way already, without having their heads cut off. Perhaps my interpretation is wrong, but it's the interpretation I choose to have. Lollipop Chainsaw is about objectification, but the base sexual gratification that initially greets the player upon Juliet's introduction is something of a subterfuge. It might still exist for little more than gratification, I should restate, but it's not, to me, the message of the story. The message I have decided to take away from Lollipop Chainsaw is that objectification without regard for a person's feelings can be disturbing, that ignoring someone's protests because you're doing what makes you feel good is alarming, and that sometimes, it takes reversing the roles in order to get some of us to see that.  So, treat women with respect, because one day you might be a disembodied head hanging from a miniskirt, and then you'll have to see what it feels like to be somebody else's toy. 
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It is said that Suda 51 always has something to say with his games, even when it looks like he's saying nothing at all. From abstract and disturbed curiosities such as Killer7 to silly and vulgar adventures like No More Heroe...

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[Update: Contest closed! Winners are jessalynzo, Keyrlis, ladyzaner, linzbot, Shadowstew, solidturtleman, Sparklykiss, The Silent Protagonist, TheFrozenOne, and trueb7ue!] Lollipop Chainsaw is finally out for the Xbox 360 and...

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The DTOID Show: Pikmin, Dawnguard, and Tomb Raider


Jun 13
// Max Scoville
Today on the Destructoid Show, I forget how to read off a teleprompter, because I've been shouting into a stick mic with no script all week at E3. Tara's on vacation, so we've got Anthony Carboni filling in for her. The news ...

Review: Lollipop Chainsaw

Jun 11 // Jim Sterling
Lollipop Chainsaw (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])Developer: Grasshopper ManufacturePublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentReleased: June 12, 2012MSRP: $59.99 Juliet Starling is a high school cheerleader who has just turned eighteen. She has a loving boyfriend, a popular social position, and a fondness for lollipops. She's also one of three zombie hunting sisters who were born into a long lineage of heroes forever opposed to the undead. Armed with pom-poms, and a chainsaw far too big for even a professional wrestler to wield, Juliet is the ultimate nemesis of all who seek to invade Earth from the fittingly named Rotten World.  Never once does Lollipop Chainsaw even attempt to take itself seriously. Its protagonist is overly sexualized to such a comical degree that it feels less like genuine perversion and more like the product of a miniskirt-fetishist on a mescaline binge. The undead opponents are torn straight from Return of the Living Dead. They talk, loudly and ridiculously, and their zombie overlords consist of punk rockers, viking drummers, and malevolent hippies. The soundtrack is glorious in its stupidity, at once featuring original compositions from Akira Yamaoka and Little Jimmy Urine alongside kitch pop songs such as "Mickey" and "Pac-Man Fever."  This is, without a doubt, the stupidest game I have ever played.  I also think I am in love with it.  [embed]229321:44040[/embed] Lollipop Chainsaw is a score attack game, born from the very essence of the arcade classics we played as children. While it is fundamentally a third-person beat 'em up, all I could think about while playing the game was House of the Dead and Crazy Taxi. From HotD, we obviously have the zombies, but we also have civilians who need to be rescued before the undead claim them, and who will reward the player should they be saved. From Crazy Taxi, the pop music and colorful art style are hard to ignore, while the fast-paced need to complete objectives against the clock add to the similarities. Lollipop Chainsaw is, to me, a cross between both of these SEGA arcade games, despite being neither a shooting or driving game. It's all about the spirit, which this game possesses in spades. Juliet uses both cheerleading pom-poms and her oversized chainsaw to deal with vast hordes of decaying cannibals. The pom-poms deal minor damage, but sustained attacks can send zombies into a groggy state, allowing them to be instantly decapitated by Juliet's chainsaw. While it may make sense to just use the chainsaw and cut the enemies to pieces, there is a tactical advantage to making groups groggy, as decapitating three or more opponents at once initiates "Sparkle Hunting," multiplying the score and helping to boost the end-of-level grade. Downed zombies drop zombie coins, which come in both gold and platinum varieties. These coins unlock passive upgrades, new attack combos, and optional content such as music for personal playlists or extra costumes for Juliet.  Although commands are very simple (no combo is overly complex), there's a lot of variety to Juliet's attacks, making use of both varied button input and contextual situations to add a ton of diversity to the battles. Juliet can attack with both high and low chainsaw swings, hop over enemies' heads, and combine these skills with regular attacks in order to unlock some powerful moves. For instance, if a zombie loses a limb or two, they become vulnerable enough for Juliet to jump over them and swing the chainsaw up between their legs, cutting them in two. By jumping and hitting the low attack button, crawling zombies can be impaled with a brutal and lengthy finisher. As more attacks are purchased at the store, the arsenal expands and becomes evermore visually stunning.  Juliet has a power meter that fills whenever she collects stars from slaughtered zombies which, when full, can be triggered for temporary invincibility, instantly deadly attacks, and the aforementioned playing of "Mickey" -- which is really the sole reason you need for activating it. Juliet also gets added help in the form of Nick -- her boyfriend who becomes a living head after an early decapitation. By collecting Nick Tickets, players can initiate a roulette wheel at any time, which allows for temporary head-based attacks if successful.  Progression through each level consists mostly of hacking and slashing, rescuing San Romero students, and partaking in the odd minigame. While I appreciate the desire to break up the action, most of these minigames are somewhat infuriating and serve only to destroy the flow of an otherwise enthralling series of battles. It doesn't help that failure to meet their sometimes unclear and strictly time-limited objectives can mean an instant game over and return to a checkpoint (which affects that all-important rank at the end). I can do without being forced into a shooting section/glorified escort mission halfway through what is one of the fastest and most delicious stages in the entire game. That said, the way the playstyle switches up during a level set in an arcade emporium makes up for the bad eggs in the rest of the bunch.  At the end of each stage, Juliet will face one of the Dark Purveyors -- powerful zombies who have been invoked by the local goth kid, Swan. These boss battles, fought in multiple stages as the Purveyors change their tactics, are among some of the best I have ever fought. Whether it's battling a punk rocker who can turn his words into physical weapons, or an auto-tuned funk master who transforms his entire world into an arcade game full of pixel bombs and neon colors, these battles are huge, inventive, and violent. Beating every single one is supremely satisfying, since you get to dig your chainsaw in and drive it through their bodies by pulling the analog stick in the indicated direction and tapping furiously on a button.  At times, Lollipop Chainsaw can be quite agitating. Although Juliet can dodge, her ability to defend is still rather weak, especially when faced with so many opponents onscreen that it is impossible to see where the attacks are coming from. Many zombies can shrug off attacks and fight through them, while the same cannot be said for Juliet, making it exasperatingly difficult to pull off some of the more powerful and crucial crowd-clearing attacks. At times, Juliet can get up from one attack only to be smacked right back down by another, and each time the player will need to hammer a button to get her up again. There are plenty of healing lollipops to keep Juliet from death, but when trying to go for high scores, it can be a real pain to deal with the less combo-friendly opposition.  The camera, too, can get in the way of the action. While it generally does a decent job of following the action, it can struggle to keep up with fast-moving enemies, especially when players are trying to lock onto them. The camera is also needlessly slow when manually moved, and there is no way to boost its sensitivity.  These bedevilments aside, Lollipop Chainsaw is one of the most fun games I've had the privilege of playing. The demented humor of Grasshopper Manufacture has never made less sense nor been more amusing, and I was laughing at the ludicrousness filling my screen within minutes of play. The clashing colors, assaulting screams, cringeworthy quips, and eclectic music combine to form what is an absolute sensory overload. Lollipop Chainsaw walks the thin line between pleasantly chaotic and just too much, but never crosses it. It's not content to stay in one place and will change gears on the player at a moment's notice, a gleeful glint in its eye and a confident knowledge that, whatever it does, even if it annoys you, it'll still have you grinning before the day is out.  There is one sizable detail, however, that will cause a significant rift between this game's potential audience -- the length. It falls on me to tell you that, on a first play, you'll likely get this game cleared between five and six hours. I know, I know, that is a short game. However, this is a game designed for replay. It's an arcade game built for scoring and leaderboard domination. After clearing the story and more than likely seeing only the bad ending, there is still a lot to do. Lots more music, costumes, and upgrades to buy, and a ton of high scores to beat. As well as attaining the highest grade you can, you also have Juliet's dad's score to contend with, the beating of which unlocks further prizes. Above all, the game is just too enjoyable to play once, so as far as I am concerned, this is at least a ten hour game, as opposed to five. Your mileage will vary, so if first-play length is crucial to you, at least you know the deal. It is not crucial to me, not when I'm planning to keep playing after the credits roll. Lollipop Chainsaw is, mechanically, the most accessible game Grasshopper has ever made. The combat is intuitive, solid, and made to raise a smile. Thematically, this may be the most impregnable and insane yet. Making rainbows shoot from the ripped-open necks of zombies while The Human League is blasting through one's speakers is an experience that defies all human sense. As weird as it may be, however, there is a very nicely crafted game running underneath, one that provides a consistently intense sense of power and brutality wrapped in a cartoon package. After so many years, Suda 51 and his team have finally struck a near perfect balance between oddity and playability in a way that should delight those with an open mind and a strong stomach for inanity.  As a piece of entertainment, Lollipop Chainsaw is something truly memorable -- shameless, camp, idiotic, and so very enchanting. As a game, it is a celebration of the arcade era, an era when games felt free to be outrageous without worrying about being taken seriously or making even the vaguest lick of sense. As something to review, it is not deserving of the dread I wrote about at the beginning of the article. As it turns out, trying to describe Lollipop Chainsaw is half the fun. Talking about it is a joy. Playing it, even more so. It's one of the straight-up dumbest games you will ever encounter, but at the end of the day, it proves one thing ...   Just because something is dumb, that doesn't mean it can't be brilliant.
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Lollipop Chainsaw is the kind of game I dread having to review. Not because I necessarily dislike the game, and not because I foresee it becoming the center of yet another trite videogame review controversy. I dread these kin...

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New trailer for Lollipop Chainsaw all about the gameplay


Jun 01
// Brett Zeidler
We're officially just less than two weeks away from Lollipop Chainsaw. Are you excited? I know for a fact that I am. I also know quite a few people who aren't sure to be excited or not, because they simply aren't sure of the...
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Zombie cheerleaders can be found at London Comic-Con


May 23
// Brett Zeidler
Are you sad because you live out of the country and it's very difficult to make it to the legendary San Diego Comic-Con? Well, if you live in/near London, UK, you can always head to the MCM London Comic-Con being held later t...
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To clarify, it's not Juliet's decapitated head - it's her boyfriend Nick's, though it may as well be hers. If you can tie your lover's head to a chain and swing him around in circles repeatedly pummeling any and all zom...

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Lollipop Chainsaw Special Edition includes Jessica Nigri?


May 17
// Kyle MacGregor
It seems like every new release these days has a special collector's edition of one form or another: paperweight dragons, underpants, sex dolls, whatever. The point is, every game absolutely must have one -- regardless ...
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Juliet's extra costumes unlockable in Lollipop Chainsaw


May 10
// Brett Zeidler
Remember when it was announced that all of Juliet's alternate costumes would be available worldwide? That was great news, except it wasn't clear if they would be available to us at a price, or if they would be included in the...
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Lollipop Chainsaw's Juliet is turning Japanese


May 09
// Raz Rauf
Hey boys and girls! Here's a video of a cute Japanese girl dressed up as Juliet, waving the trademark chainsaw around whilst pretend fighting. The girl's name is Mayu Kawamoto, an image girl chosen by Suda51 and th...
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Every Lollipop Chainsaw trailer just keeps upping the crazy and it's no different here with our exclusive look at Juliet Starling's sisters. Big sister Cordelia Starling is an expert zombie hunter that wields a long range sn...

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Here's an utterly ridiculous Lollipop Chainsaw trailer


Apr 13
// Jim Sterling
Would you like to watch just under three minutes of complete silliness? Of course you do! This new trailer for Lollipop Chainsaw explains some of the ways in which Juliet Starling can decimate the undead horde, and while it starts quite sensibly, things get too barmy for words by the end.  I think we've praised this game enough lately, so just watch the video. It says everything it needs to.

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