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Lollipop Chainsaw

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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
// Mr Andy Dixon
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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Exclusive Bomb Monkey talk-through with the surprise pals


Apr 10
// Jonathan Holmes
Sometimes when you're at PAX East eating a $8 cheeseburger and waiting for your batteries to recharge (literally and figuratively), you'll end up having an amazing time. That's what's happened to me on the day that the ...
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Juliet cleans off zombie bits in Lollipop Chainsaw video


Apr 05
// Brett Zeidler
Zombies are messy. Like, really messy. Their fragile bodies are falling apart and full of blood, so I'm sure it comes as no surprise that Juliet gets covered in zombie bits after a day of slaying them with her chainsaw. She ...
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Urine and Yamaoka on the Lollipop Chainsaw soundtrack


Apr 01
// Jonathan Holmes
A lot of people call Suda 51 (creator of Lollipop Chainsaw) the Quentin Tarantino of videogames. While I see some similarities there, I don't think the analogy is quite right. Quentin Tarantino is big on "real talk...
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WB bringing Lollipop Chainsaw, Witcher 2 and more to PAX


Mar 31
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
It was last PAX East where Lollipop Chainsaw debuted to the masses and it's going to be this PAX East where we get just one more last look before the release this June. The game has come a long way since last PAX and I can't...
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The DTOID Show: Borderlands 2, Baldur's Gate, and BOOBS!


Mar 16
// Tara Long
Happy Friday, everyone! Not only is today the sixth anniversary of this wacky and wonderful website we've all come to know and love, it's also the birthday of our great overlord Niero, to whom we paid tribute on today's live...
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Lollipop Chainsaw star-studded cast revealed


Mar 14
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
One thing that impressed me about Lollipop Chainsaw that I forgot to mention in my preview was just how great the voice acting was. Today, Warner Bros revealed the voice actors and it's surprising to see just how many big na...
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Max Scoville caught up with super famous movie director James Gunn where they talked about everything Lollipop Chainsaw. It's a really revealing interview as we get to see that James was all about working on the project. I w...

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All Lollipop Chainsaw costumes to be available worldwide


Mar 10
// Jim Sterling
Recently, we've been gawping at a lot of alternate costumes in Lollipop Chainsaw, which have ranged from cute to questionable. Whether you find Juliet Starling's wardrobe entertaining or exploiting, you'll be able to get...
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Lollipop Chainsaw will drown Japan in borderline nudity


Mar 08
// Jim Sterling
Lollipop Chainsaw is looking hot for a number of reasons, but if you're mostly looking forward to perving over its saucy protagonist, you're going to be very jealous of Japan. Suda 51's home country has already gotten some "s...
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GDC: Going to the arcade of doom in Lollipop Chainsaw


Mar 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Last year, developer Grasshopper Manufacture showed off a very simple demo of Lollipop Chainsaw at several major gaming conventions. It was a very basic demo in my eyes, one that was more to show the potential of things to co...
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GDC: Lollipop Chainsaw dated June 12, great party pics


Mar 05
// Dale North
Team Destructoid has just returned from a Lollipop Chainsaw GDC party here in San Francisco and we've brought you a new release date for the game, just announced at tonight's event. North America will see Grasshopper Man...
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The DTOID Show: PS Vita round-up with Dale North!


Feb 14
// Tara Long
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! If you're not busy preparing a fancy evening for yourself or your significant other, why not take fifteen minutes out of your schedule to enjoy yesterday's Destructoid show? After pulling an ...
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Lollipop Chainsaw getting dirty premium skins in Japan


Feb 13
// Jim Sterling
Lollipop Chainsaw is really pushing the alternate costume thing. We already got to see the various new looks Juliet Starling can rock with North American pre-orders, but here's a look at the stuff Japanese premium edition can...
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Lollipop Chainsaw: Nick lost all but his head over Juliet


Feb 12
// Conrad Zimmerman
Another fun video promoting Lollipop Chainsaw has been released. This go-around, we're given a little bit of history on Nick Carlyle, Juliet's boyfriend, who isn't quite the man he used to be. So far, I like the character be...
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Happy late FemShep Friday, everyone! Or at least, that's what 99% of my Twitter feed was saying when I woke up yesterday. I can't keep up with all these made-up Internet holidays, damnit! On yesterday's show, we went live an...

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Lollipop Chainsaw will be censored in Japan


Feb 07
// Chris Carter
Apparently Lollipop Chainsaw is getting the censorship treatment in Japan...unless you're willing to buy the premium version of the game. Two different versions of Suda 51's latest will be released in order to tone down the g...

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