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Must be expensive photo
Must be expensive

Assassin's Creed Syndicate features a transgender NPC

Cue the cries of 'caving to SJWs'
Sep 25
// Jed Whitaker
Great news everyone, Assassin's Creed Syndicate will feature the series' first transgender character! Ned Wynert is a trans male NPC who will provide quests to either of the playable characters. This announcement co...

Review: Aerannis

Sep 22 // Jed Whitaker
Aerannis (PC)Developer: ektomarch Publisher: ektomarch Released: September 15, 2015MSRP: $9.99Rig: Intel Core i7-3930K @ 3.2 GHz, 32GB DDR3 RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 980, Windows 10 64-bit, Intel 750 SSD After receiving an email from one of the developers stating you play as a transgender character, I couldn't help but give Aerannis a chance. I was rather surprised how well the Kickstarted game was able to mesh the adventure genre with a stealthy metroidvania. Traversing different parts of the cyberpunk world to find and complete missions -- mostly consisting of either stealthy sneaking, hits, or investigating -- was pretty satisfying and never felt dull.  The formula is overall pretty simple: Talk to your robot buddy / boss / NPC and receive a mission with directions, follow the directions till you find an arrow in front of described building, do the mission, rinse and repeat. The world isn't exactly huge, but save stations allow you to fast travel between them, thankfully cutting down on dull backtracking that many games in the same genre suffer from.  Missions are all relatively similar even if the goal at the end can be a bit different: Going from point A to point B while hiding or blasting enemies until you reach the goal. But thankfully new mechanics, weapons, and enemies are introduced along the way to keep things interesting, such as the abilities to hang from ledges, jump off walls, and drop varying types of bombs. In a few levels you'll also be tasked with taking down giant boss monsters, which are always satisfying and unique.  [embed]311778:60469:0[/embed] As someone who typically hates stealth sections in games, I actually found the stealth missions fairly enjoyable as they are a bit more action-oriented than games like Hitman. I found myself never having to wait more than a few seconds for an enemy to mill about allowing me to either sneak by or grab them from behind with the decision of instantly killing them or taking them hostage, with any option being equally satisfying.  Politics: this game has them and we have to talk about them. Seeing as you play as a transgender female in a world where men don't exist because... well... the game doesn't really ever explain this, nor does it explain how trans females exists with no males. Are babies born male and forced to be female? How are babies born? I feel like the developers had some kind of agenda with the game's story but never truly make it 100% clear one way or another, which is probably intentional. I imagine that players of every belief will be able to feel like Aerannis story falls into what they think if they wanted.  For instance, one section has you enter a part of the city known as TERF Turf, where radical feminists are in control and rally against "snowflakes" as they call them, a shortened version of the pejorative "special snowflakes" which is often used to slur transgender people. TERF is an acronym for "Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists" by the way, so it makes sense that the sign outside their part of town says "you must be this cis to enter" with a picture of a tampon. The game treats TERFs as the main villains even going as far as referring to them as Nazis, though without directly saying the word. So many people will take this as meaning "excluding trans people is bad" while others will surely interrupt it as "all feminists are bad," a distinction that is never directly made. My biggest gripe with the game is it never really says anything. Sure it talks about feminism, transgender people, and diversity, but what is the message it is trying to convey? In the end the whole thing kind of feels like the ramblings of a conspiracy theorist who finds the most radical outlier of a group and makes an example of them for what a said group must be like, when that isn't necessarily true. I have a hunch the developers' intentions was to try to hide a wolf in sheep's clothing or apply gotcha tactics by having players play as a transgender character while preaching to them about the dangers of feminism -- insert laughter here -- and it really just never works, mostly because the writing is less than great and the message isn't clear. For a game having two endings, neither really had much to say or made sense to the context of the rest of the game. One ending has the main character reveal a secret twist they had been keeping the entire game, which would be fine if their internal dialogue wasn't presented at times, which made the ending feel jarring and disconnected from the rest of the experience. The other ending just goes completely off the rails that had me audibly exclaim "What the fuck!?" Maybe that is part of the beauty of Aerannis -- aside from its crisp pixel art, matching soundtrack and solid gameplay -- is that it is like staring into the abyss of the mind of a conspiracy theorist, or any random internet hive-mind; it might not make much sense, it might be completely off kilter with the real world, and it might be the complete opposite of what I believe, but it was still good for a laugh. Aerannis is a beautiful, diverse metroidvania with solid mechanics mixed in with some tin-foil hat madness, and regardless of your political views you should give it a shot; you might just enjoy it, I know I did. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Review: Aerannis photo
Transgender Feminist Illuminati Blues
In a cyberpunk future where men cease to exist, a trans woman and for-hire assassin is fighting the feminist Illuminati that runs the government. Along the way she encounters shape shifting monsters that often are shaped like...

World of Warcraft photo
World of Warcraft

Running of the Trolls raises $500 for The Trevor Project

These are the Trolls I like to see!
Jun 29
// Joe Parlock
This weekend Pride marches have been taking place all over the place, from London to Seattle... to Kalimdor. On Saturday, hundreds of World of Warcraft trolls marched across the game to help raise money for The Trevor Project...
Newstoid #4 photo
Newstoid #4

Steamy drama, marriage equality in Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy VII changes - Newstoid #4

It's about to get gay in here
Jun 26
// Jed Whitaker
Last night the boyfriend and I got together -- giggitty -- and shot this latest episode of Newstoid since Jess Brohard is out hunting fugitives with Dog the bounty hunter or whatever. Who knew we would talk about marriage eq...

That's so Raven photo
That's so Raven

Same-sex marriage confirmed for Fire Emblem Fates!

The fates have spoken!
Jun 23
// Jed Whitaker
Nintendo has confirmed in a statement to Polygon that same-sex marriage is an option available to players in the upcoming Fire Emblem Fates for 3DS: We can confirm that Fire Emblem Fates for Nintendo 3DS, whic...
LGBT Dragon Age photo
LGBT Dragon Age

BioWare lead writer talks gay romances, LGBT characters, and Dragon Age sales

Did you ride the bull?
May 18
// Jed Whitaker
Fellow bearded brethren and radio personality Andy Borkowski interviewed David Gaider, the lead writer of Dragon Age: Inquisition on the topic of diversity in the series. David states that an argument could be made that ...
Kitty Powers photo
Kitty Powers

Kitty Powers' Matchmaker is making Steam wonderfully camp

God I love her so much
Apr 23
// Joe Parlock
Take a hike Conchita Wurst, step off Dame Edna and move the fuck over Ru Paul, because Kitty Powers is on the scene and she’s going to get me the boyfriend I’ve always wanted with Kitty Powers’ Match Maker....
#JamForLeelah photo

Game jam dealing with the struggles of being trans

Not your typical game characters
Feb 25
// Jed Whitaker
A month-long game jam, JamForLeelah, recently concluded and the 22 participating games are available now. Leelah Alcorn was a transgender teen who had a passion for videogames and an interest in game design. Leelah took her l...

Gaming In Color film promotes digital diversity

Pay-what-you-like model
Apr 22
// Dale North
Feature-length film Gaming In Color aims to look closer at the growth and challenges of the LGBTQ communities of the gaming world. It covers the queer gaming community and events like Gaymer X, as well as the rise of LGBTQ t...

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