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8:00 PM on 12.30.2012

Art Hawk talks Grand Theft Auto

There was an episode of Talking to Women about Videogames a while back that got screwed up when it started to rain, requiring that we abruptly end the episode without a proper resolution. That's why Art Hawk (also known...

Jonathan Holmes


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1:30 PM on 11.19.2012

Talking to Women about Videogames: Nintendo myth busting

[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.] Myths can start innocently enough. Pure fabrica...

Jonathan Holmes



Talking to Women about Videogames: Lollipop Chainsaw Pt 2 photo
Talking to Women about Videogames: Lollipop Chainsaw Pt 2
by Jonathan Holmes

[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 about Lollipop Chainsaw, we'll be talking about zombies, psychology, how Juliet compares to Bayonetta and other female protagonists in gaming, why upskirts are a thing and what effect a male's gaze has on both creating and playing a game about a cheerleader with a chainsaw. 

So without further adieu, let's get kicking. [Warning: Spoilers Ahoy]

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Talking to Women about Videogames: Lollipop Chainsaw Pt 1 photo
Talking to Women about Videogames: Lollipop Chainsaw Pt 1
by Jonathan Holmes

[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 Grasshopper Manufacture's more recent games, Lollipop Chainsaw is the one that I'm guessing is the most likely to be misunderstood. Suda 51 has been packing unexpected messages in otherwise "normal"-looking games since he wrote the shock suicide ending of Super Fire Pro Wrestling back in 1994. Since that time, most of his games have been overtly weird. It doesn't take a close examination to spot the surrealism in Killer7 and No More Heroes. Ironically, the fact that those games looked weird probably helped them to be more easily understood by the people who wanted to play them.

Suda's past two games, Shadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw, have appeared mainstream-friendly on the surface, but like Super Fire Pro Wrestling, they've got more to them than meets the eye. Sadly, I'm concerned that they disguise their ideas a little too well. Even our own Jim Sterling was quick to say that Lollipop Chainsaw was "the stupidest game he'd ever played," only to write a wonderful analysis of how smartly written the game was a week later. There is more to this game than people may initially think or detractors may want to admit.

If the game has one central theme, I'd guess it's the idea that there are no black or white truths. Black and white can and often do exist simultaneously in the exact same place in the exact same time, without contradicting each other, just like a "Lollipop Chainsaw."

[WARNING! TONS of Lollipop Chainsaw Spoilers ahead!]

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Talking to Women about Videogames: On icons & minorities photo
Talking to Women about Videogames: On icons & minorities
by Jonathan Holmes

[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.]

We shot this episode a week and a half ago, well before Dtoid's Allistair Pinsof, Jim Sterling, and Holly Green already wrote their respective posts about the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. I'm going to try to take a different tact at discussing the game here, focusing on why people already feel this strongly about it. Despite the fact that it's a long way from release and that we only know the game from trailers and gameplay footage, Tomb Raider has already evoked a deep gut reaction in fans and non-fans alike. A lot of people I've talked to aren't even sure exactly why they feel so strongly about it. They just watch that trailer and, before you know it, they're pissed off.

That's probably because their feelings are confounded by separate but equally sensitive issues. With this new game, everything that Lara Croft represents as an icon, and as a woman, has been changed forever. You can't expect to make those kinds of moves without getting some blowback.

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1:00 AM on 06.12.2012

A cute as a button preview of New Super Mario Bros. 2

New Super Mario Bros. 2 had a lot going against it at E3 this year. It's already been shown up by its better looking, more extravagantly adorned older brother New Super Mario Bros. U. It was only available for preview during...

Jonathan Holmes



Talking to Women about Videogames: Art has no e-penis photo
Talking to Women about Videogames: Art has no e-penis
by Jonathan Holmes

[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.]

A little while ago, brilliant game developer Jenova Chen (ThatGameCompany) said something that made me sad. I was actually more sad for him than anyone else, because it really sounded like he meant ityet didn't think it through when he said, "Sony has a more artistic and adult-focused taste. They care about how grown-ups feel toward their games. The player who owns a PlayStation 3 is more likely to be interested in artistic games compared to Wii and Xbox 360." This was right after the release of the Xbox 360-exclusive critical darling Fez and Sony's big announcement of a Smash Bros. cloneEek.

I expected Chen to come out and clarify his statements shortly afterwards, with a "Oops! What I meant to say was that I find the games on the PS3 to be more evocative of 'grown-up' and 'sophisticated' on the whole, but I would never try to speak for an console's entire install base or game library! That would be goofy!" But instead of a half-retraction, we got Sony's backing up of Chen's original comment and expanding on it, stating, "Many PlayStation and PSN games have themes that require a user to think and feel about a deep, immersive gameplay experience, and we see that exemplified in the success of titles like FlowerJourney, and Heavy Rain. Titles like these can only be found on PlayStation, and our users enjoy the emotional and thematic sophistication of their games, especially with our digital offerings."

Seeing the words "artistic" and "sophisticated" getting integrated into the verbal weaponry used in the "console wars" is equal parts ironic and depressing. Claiming that "my art is bigger than your art" is just more e-penis boasting, usually reserved for talk of how many "AAA" games a console has or how many "graphics per inch" it can push on-screen. It's childish, closed-minded, and counter to the whole concept of art in general. One of the things that defines "art" is that, unlike sports, education, or pornography, it's not a competition.

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Talking to Women about Videogames: They can't see the art photo
Talking to Women about Videogames: They can't see the art
by Jonathan Holmes

[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.]

The debate over the artistic merits (or lack thereof) of videogames has been going on for years. Every time I think it's over, it pops up again. The passion on either side of the argument never seems to die down, while those on the outskirts are just desperate to put the whole debate to rest. Any topic that leads to this kind of endless impassioned debate (and debate about the debate itself) must have some greater meaning.

I think that meaning can be found in the deeply contrasting perceptions found on each side of the argument. Talking to someone who doesn't think videogames are an art form can feel like talking to a Predator (the "Arnold Schwarzenegger hating" variety, not the "to catch a" variety). It's like their eyes just don't see the same world that mine sees. Where I see a face, or a sunset, they might see a random swirl of colors, or a bunch of amorphous blobs. That leads them to desperately try to convince me that there is a blob setting in the west, while I'm yelling at them about the breathtaking symphony of colors exploding in the sky right in front of us. We're both sure that what we're seeing is reality, and that schism between our two realities drives us nuts.

I've found the best way to deal with situations like these is to take on the differing perspective. From there, you can mentally team up with the person whom you're "arguing" with, and try to guide them over to your way of seeing. They may not ever share your perspective, but by engaging with them, you can at least share the same reality for a little bit, and that can only lead to good things. So let's take a look at why some people can't see that videogames are an art form, and help to get them on the right track!

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Talking to Women about Videogames: Who needs to grow up? photo
Talking to Women about Videogames: Who needs to grow up?
by Jonathan Holmes

[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.]

People are talking about how gaming needs to grow up. Some are even claiming that their games are more grown-up than the games the other guys are making. These are well-meaning, intelligent people whom I have a lot of respect for. That doesn't change the fact that they are being totally silly.

There are so many things wrong with the statement "videogames need to grow up" that it's hard to even know where to start. Why would videogames "need to" do anything? Last time I checked, videogames were doing pretty damn well for themselves as it is. More people are playing games than ever before, and the variety of games being developed has never been more expansive or more vividly original. We live in a world where Fez, the Bit.Trip series, Sword & Sworcery, and Lone Survivor stand alongside more mainstream titles like BioShock, Super Mario Galaxy, Halo, and God of War as critical and commercial successes. That's a pretty awesome world to live in. The only thing videogames as a whole have to do is keep doing what they're doing, because it's working for just about everybody. 

And "grow up"? What does that even mean? By what standard? Grow up compared to what? Sports? Movies? TV shows? Popular music? If videogames ever "grow up" to be a primitive exercise in schadenfreude like Jersey Shore, or whatever derivative pop song about sex/bravado/grumpiness that is topping the charts at the moment, then count me the hell out. 

No, I don't think the problem is that videogames aren't "grown-up" enough. I think it's a bigger problem that a lot of grown-ups aren't "videogames" enough.

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Talking to Women about Videogames: Gamer Cred photo
Talking to Women about Videogames: Gamer Cred
by Jonathan Holmes


[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. Get the album featuring celebrities from the world of game music here.]

At a recent, post-screening, Q&A session for Indie Game: The Movie, co-director Lisanne Pajot was asked if she is a "gamer." Upon being approached with the question, her posture immediately changed. Her head went down, she took one step back, there was a small pause, then she lifted her head, let out a nervous giggle, smiled, and said something about how she didn't play a lot of games before making her movie, but that now that she's learned so much about the game development process, she's gotten into gaming in a whole new way. Her answer was genuine but tense. There was more tension there than she should have been made to feel. 

To me, asking Ms. Pajot if she was a "gamer" after watching her incredibly heartfelt film was almost as irrelevant as asking her to wear her hottest outfit to a job interview for Maxim. It would be one thing if the question was asked lightly (as I'm sure it sometimes is). In this case, though, the question was put out with an interrogative tone, as if the quality of Ms. Pajot's work would be partially determined by her level of "gamer-ness."

Some of us have come to believe that we can gauge someone's worth based on how much of a "gamer" they are. That is a foolish, narcissistic perspective that can only lead to bad things.

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The Ultimate Talking the Women about Videogames album 3! photo
The Ultimate Talking the Women about Videogames album 3!
by Jonathan Holmes

[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.]

As a horny old blind man once said "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in". I was so sure that I was finally done with the Talking to Women about Videogames album, but when the lovely and talented Chainsaw (composer on such modern classics as Ms 'Splosion Man and The Maw) asked if he could contribute a song to the thing, I could not say no. Chainsaw is joined by other game music all-stars such as Matt Harwood (Bit.Trip, Homefront), DannyB (Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac), Souleye (VVVVVV), Jesse Hopkins (Gratuitous Space Battles, Mount and Blade) and Dale North (Dtoid Editor-in-Chief, The One Ups), making this album one of the biggest game composer crossovers of all time. I still can't believe all these highly talented people were willing to contribute to my weird projects. I don't deserve you, dudes. Seriously.

Once again, the album has seen some incredible contributions from the Dtoid community, including this infectiously catchy re-imagining of the Sup Holmes theme (by LolShin), a kick to the balls version of the same song (by Torzelan), and even a song about talking to me about videogames (by Carnivorous Forrest). I also added about 7 new tracks to the album myself to make sure that Chainsaw's debut here had all the support I could give it. These tracks include tributes to songs of my youth, a cover of a Bee Gees classic, a song created with the cat toy from the original Rhythm Tengoku, and much more. They are mostly dumb, but I put my whole heart into them all the same.

The album is up to 46 tracks now (including the 6 secret tracks)! To celebrate all this new content, The album will go on sale for $.99 starting today. The sale will last for a week, unless it's really successful. Then maybe I'll do something else. Thanks again to everyone who contributed! You put the magic in my magic stick. I love you forever.

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5:50 PM on 01.30.2012

Nudity: TtWaV album gets new tracks, temporary price drop

[Update: Due to popular demand, the sale will continue until Monday 01/29/2012, 10pm EST. Yipee!] Well this is exciting! The recently released Talking to Women about Videogames album just got five brand new tracks. Actu...

Jonathan Holmes



Sup Holmes is coming: You must get in on it photo
Sup Holmes is coming: You must get in on it
by Jonathan Holmes

Sup Holmes is a live stream videogame-focused internet talk show and podcast that Conrad Zimmerman, myself, and many others are currently trying to get off the ground. There will be topics, special guests from the world of gaming, and a whole lot more. It's a pretty ambitious project with a lot of variables, so a lot could go wrong. It's daunting, but in the words of Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Vacation, "I'm gonna go for it."

If you want to get involved, there are two things you can do right now. The first is you can email a question via text, voice, or video to HolmesSupHolmes@gmail.com. There is a good chance that whatever you send could be used in our first show, which will most likely be about the strange world of videogame "journalism" and what it's like for both developers and game writers to navigate through it. Staying on topic would be good, but if you have an off topic question that you think is so awesome, then you might as well run it by us.

The second thing you can do is give me some feedback on the show's theme song. I wrote the song and hobbled the video presented below in about ten minutes, so I wont be hurt if you hate it. The final version of the song will be set to an animation created by Linzb0t and will be used in the intro to every episode. If you want to try to make the song better, either by telling me what to play, or by playing it yourself, then go for it! There is nothing I like more than teaming up with you guys

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Behold! The TtWaV videos, album, and contest ALL FOR YOU photo
Behold! The TtWaV videos, album, and contest ALL FOR YOU
by Jonathan Holmes

[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.]

So here we go! Talking to Women about Videogames, that weird show I was doing every week for a while there, has given birth to not one but two music videos and double length albums of amazing music (available here). Contributing artists include Danny B (Super Meat Boy, HAWP), Dale North (The One-Ups, Dtoid EiC), Souleye (VVVVVV), Jesse Hopkins (Mount and Blade, Gratuitious Space Battles), Matt Harwood (Bit.Trip, Alien Hominid), and many many more. I know you're probably tempted to just jump to the artists you know, but I highly recommend that you also focus on the stuff from the album's up-and-comers. This track by Mike Pugliese is a perfect example. It chokes me up every time. So beautiful! 

A portion of the album's sales will go to charity, as quite a few of the artists who contributed music to the project have asked that their share of the profits go to a good cause. If you want to contribute to the album too, it's not too late! You wont get paid, but if you want to record something for it just for fun, let me know. The album never needs to stop growing. If you need help, see the attached sheet music via @FallenDux.

As for the videos, they are a labor of love and have already proven powerful enough to enrage some and enrapture others. The one seen above features the unplugged mix of the TtWaV theme, the one below features the XXX mix. Like the songs they represent, the videos share a lot of the same content but are still pretty different. If it weren't for the creative magic of Sir Tobbii, McNyers, Linzb0t, Captain Carrion, and McFlyGold, none of it could have happened. You guys nailed it. I love you.

Now, onto the potentially profitable stuff for you! It's contest time! Details below!

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6:00 PM on 12.31.2011

Get hype: The full TtWaV album drops on January 3rd

I hope you're ready for a bunch of weird Talking to Women about Videogames crap, because Talking to Women about Videogames: The Album is set to go live on Bandcamp in just a few days. The three "main songs" from the prior al...

Jonathan Holmes

7:00 PM on 12.17.2011

TtWaV video and remix update: Enter the Metal

[Haven't heard about the Talking to Women about Videogames music video and remix project? Click here for the details. It could make you famous!] Good news! The prior remixes in this ongoing sound/video experim...

Jonathan Holmes