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Top 10 TV Distractions From Gaming

*This Article Contains Spoilers*

Summer is over. Gone are the heatwaves and lovely days spent in air conditioned game rooms, typing away furiously at our keyboards. October, with its fall TV lineup beckons us to give our fingers a reprieve, even if briefly. Here are my choices for worthy distractions from gaming:

1. The Flash

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Season three is coming up and they’re starting off with “Flashpoint Paradox.” Barry’s lost his Dad, his Mom, and has experienced so much anguish due to what he perceives as his actions, that he’s gone back and altered the timeline. With the interconnectivity of the four DC shows on the CW, this will most likely have repercussions for the others as well.

2. Arrow 

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Oliver and Team Arrow have dealt with Damien Darhk, thwarted a global nuclear event, and lost a member of their own team. Has Team Arrow become unstrung? Hitting its fifth season, this gritty vigilante show is a can’t miss! I still believe that Oliver Queen was a replacement for Bruce Wayne, but the CW couldn’t get the IP rights to do a Batman show while the Dark Knight trilogy was on the big screen. There have been several names and organizations that were part of the Bat lore, and this only goes to support my theory.

3. Supergirl

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The Kryptonian 20-something finds herself switching networks this season, and possibly due in part to the repercussions of The Flash. Her cousin, Clark has been cast, and there are rumors that Batgirl and other female DC heroes will make an appearance. With a new network that has a good record with the genre so far, I’m hoping they lean away from the “After School Special” of Kara’s first season.

4. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

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The fourth installment of CWs DC lineup has a time traveling spaceship with several of the network’s second string heroes bouncing through time attempting to fix timeline errors.

5. Supernatural

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The Winchesters and crew have put over a decade on the air dealing with all manner of monsters, reality bending magic, and even self-deprecating humor. A friend of mine has said they jumped the shark back when Chuck revealed himself to be the Creator. Happy Days jumped the shark in its fifth season and went on for six more after that. Not a bad record to follow. With Sam thinking Dean has sacrificed himself, Dean finding his Mother has been returned from the afterlife, and Chuck and Amara taking a powder and leaving earth on it’s own, season 12 has me chomping at the bit to see what becomes of Moose and Squirrel.

6. Luke Cage

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Netflix is doing great with their Marvel titles, and this one looks to be no different. A reluctant hero with impervious skin and great strength, Luke brings a cool element to the planned line-up that’s still rolling out. Next year we are scheduled to get Iron Fist and The Defenders rounding out the last of Netflix’s Marvel heroes and the aggregate team show.

7. Gotham

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This show has gotten a lot of hate, and going into its third year has been no different. Roles are being recast, leaving many fans to wonder if Batman will be fighting villains escaped from the old folk’s home once he gets his suit on. I am willing to let the storyline play out and see where the writers take us. DC is known for its alternate universes and I see no problem with that. I almost wonder if Jim Gordan and Bruce Wayne will be this Gotham‘s Batman and Robin.

8. Agents of Shield

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Marvel TV brings us the fourth season of this super-spy team. Phasing out their X-men comic titles due to property right arguments has brought the Inhumans to the forefront on TV. Things are still a bit rocky as the movie adaptions of the Inhumans has been delayed. I love the dynamic of Coulson, Fitz, Simmons, and the rest of the team, though, and I will be trying my best to fit them into my TV watching schedule.

9. Doctor Who

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What’s this? No capes? The Doctor is still a superhero in my book, and I regret that I must catch him after his seasons have aired.  When Season 10 hits this fall, that should unlock Season 9 on Amazon Prime which has acquired the airing rights here in the US.

10. The Walking Dead

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Rick Grimes is a badass. After dealing with Walkers, The Governor, and the Wolves, he now has to contend with the Saviors and Negan. Somebody will die, and possibly two as the show has a history of running parallel to the comics and making fitting substitutions. I also predict that AMC will be ending the show after this Negan plotline is dealt with.

We Are All Gamers, Stop Letting Them Divide Us

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We are all gamers, period.  I’ve been living with the constant barrage of negative views on gamers since gaming was a thing.  Never before have we let it cause such a rift in our community as we do now.  There was a time when the Jack Thompsons of the world were universally condemned by gamers, and the press that covered our community.  Who is ‘them,’ ‘they,’ those people who have us fighting each other over petty garbage now?  Now it’s that same press, ‘industry insiders,’ a few developers, and people who have decided they want to be a member of this community, but want to change it into their own version of a utopian tribe.  If you question some aspect of it?  Well you just aren’t welcome in this new definition of ‘inclusion,’ and to top it off they’ll happily print articles spinning it as if  you run a concentration camp in your back yard.  Then, when the dust settles that rift is just a little wider and they go hunting their next target.

But, we’re all gamers.  Why do we listen when an analyst says “PC gamers are like arrogant racists?”  Why do we then go looking for people to call racist just because some guy said it in an interview.  Worse yet why do we accept it as normal that it’s OK to paint with such a broad brush?  PC gamers, just like gamers in general, aren’t any one thing except gamers.  We are all part of the same community, and yet we are all different.  To say PC gamers, or gamers are one thing or another is no different than saying heavy metal fans are all satanists, or roleplayers are all devil worshipers.  It’s the same puritan mentality that has caused hysteria with the ill-informed public for years.  How many of us had friends that had to hide their D&D books from their parents, or could only listen to Megadeth at a friend’s house?

We’re all gamers.  We need to start standing up for each other, because it’s obvious most of our major press isn’t going to do it.  Just Google ‘Gamers are…’ and look at the majority of the posts.  The vast majority right now are links to the article above.  Imagine a parent wants to educate themselves about our community before buying their young kid a console for Christmas.  Our media is doing a terrible job of representing our community to the general public, and in many cases we’re playing right into it.  Sure, we have our fights, but it’s usually about which Zelda is the best or whether PC is better than console.  That’s part of being in this community, just like sports nuts argue over which team is better, or which sport.  Unfortunately, when the media prints an article about gamers being sexist dudebros a lot of us go off and say, “Yup, look at this. This is how it is, gamers are like this.”

A lot of it reminds me of how the media plays us with politics.  They turn us on each other based on our political parties and who we support.  If you back this guy you’re a racist, if you don’t back this woman you’re a sexist.  Then we fight about it all while the politicians and media collect the cash and keep it going.  Who is really being helped here when we fight each other because the games press calls some of us names?  We all know they’re shady as hell, yet when they print an article, or 80, about somebody supporting the ‘wrong candidate’ not only do we believe it outright, but somehow we accept that it’s OK to shun someone just because we don’t like their political choice.  We help the media create a culture that is the opposite of inclusive, and by the time the facts actually come out, and we find out they didn’t give money to the ‘wrong guy’ it’s too late.  They’ve already smeared the guy, run his girlfriend off social media, and forever skewed public perception of the company.  Companies are already cutting ties, people are already boycotting, and most of the media will never go back and correct those articles.  They’re too busy writing the next clickbait to keep us outraged and at each other’s throats.

We’re all gamers.  We have to start having each other’s backs.  Get back to being that awesome community I know is still there, still strong, but overshadowed by all the mess created by a few people looking for their 15 minutes.  We are all different, but we all love games.  We don’t all like the same types of games, and that’s fine.  We can argue about which game is better, which genre, or which platform is the best without devolving to the hate that people have brought to this community.  That’s precisely the issue.  We aren’t a hateful community, but a few people have certainly brought that out.

So what’s the magic fix?  I wish I knew.  We just have to make a conscious effort to be the community I know we are.  Stop listening to media, start listening to each other.  Sure, we have our outliers, but that’s just what they are.  The little trolls and gremlins sitting in the corner spewing garbage.  They’re just like the trolls and gremlins sitting in the light, writing articles that spew garbage.  Neither will ever go away completely, but we have to stop listening to the half that have the loudest voice.  All they do is scream and shout about the other group, and act as if they’re representative of us all.  Call them out on it, back each other up against both of those nasty groups, and above all fight that hate with love, not more hate.

Games to Get Excited About – September 2016

Fall may be around the corner but the weather is still hot. The holiday release calendar is also heating up, so lets take a look at some of the upcoming releases that we’re keeping an eye on. September is surprisingly full of ports of previously released games and early access releases but there are still a few promising full releases.

Steins;Gate 0

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Visual Novels are finally starting to get wide release in the West. Last year, we were finally able to get the fantastic Steins;Gate which is one of the best Visual Novels ever released. It is a twisting ride of a story that deals with both time-travel conspiracies and Tokyo’s otaku culture in ways that wind together in surprising ways. Steins;Gate 0 is a semi-sequel to the original game that explores an alternate timeline and explores ideas of Artificial Intelligence. Hopes are high that it will live up to the quality of the first game.

ReCore

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ReCore is a new IP from Keiji Inafune and team members that worked on the Metroid Prime trilogy. The game will be an exclusive for the XBOX One and it places players in the shoes of Joule, a scavenger, as she attempts to survive a ruined wasteland with the help of robot companions that she meets during her adventure. The game has an impressive pedigree and its art style offers a welcome bit of variety to the XBOX One’s lineup. Hopefully the gameplay will live up to some of the great work of its creators’ previous projects.

Destiny: Rise of Iron

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Year 3 of Destiny launches, this month with the full Rise of Iron expansion. Destiny was initially met with mixed reactions from gamers who generally praised the moment to moment gunplay but complained about the boring, stilted story and the extreme grind required to make progress on post-game gear. Developer Bungie worked to keep the community active and the second year expansion, The Taken King, was generally much better received. We are very curious to see if they have kept up the quality in the new expansion.

 

Yokai Watch 2

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Level 5’s Yokai Watch has become a cultural institution over the past few years in Japan, with sales that have even come to eclipse the juggernaut that is the Pokemon franchise. The franchise came to the US last fall. Yokai Watch did not become nearly as big in the west as it is in its home territory, but it did well enough that the next game in the series in being brought over. The Yokai Watch series draws inevitable comparisons to Pokemon, but focuses on a smaller scope stories in a single community and encourages the player to get to know the town and its inhabitants while solving problems caused by mischievous spirits. We’ll see if this iteration can pick up a larger audience than its predecessor.

 

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice

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The beloved Phoenix Wright series with Spirit of Justice. Spirit of Justice is the 6th main game in the series and will focus on both Phoenix Wright and his proteges Apollo Justice and Athena Sykes. The series is well established at this point so if you are a fan of previous installments, chances are you’ll be happy for the chance to get back into the courtroom with Phoenix. If you have never played one of these games then this might not be the best entry to jump in with.

Honorable Mentions

We normally don’t feature ports of already released games in this feature, but I would be remiss for not pointing out that Darkest Dungeon is finally releasing on Playstation consoles this month. If you’ve been salivating over this title like I have since the PC release, then know that the wait is almost over.

Note from the editor: Games to Get Excited About was delayed this month due to conflicting schedules. Please expect October’s edition of Games to Get Excited About to be on time.

 

Comic Book Spotlight: Batgirl #1

Title: Batgirl #1
Writer: Hope Larson
Artists: Rafael Albuquerque
Published by DC Comics
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Reviewed by Johnny Destructo
A bit of history: the first post-Killing Joke-version of Batgirl that appeared about 5 years ago via “The New 52” was a no-nonsense woman dealing with recently getting back on her feet, and the after affects of PTSD. Then the powers that be did a bit of re-branding, making Barbara slightly younger, with a whole new outfit (which is far more visually striking) and suddenly she was worrying about her online presence, Instagram and her popularity as a superhero in a piece of the city called Burnside. That brings us to this new #1! Babs has left Burnside and is doing some globe-trotting, starting in Japan, specifically to meet an elderly ex-crimefighter, Chiyo Yamashiro, aka FRUIT BAT.

 

OK, so on her first day in Japan, Babs runs into her old friend Kai, who just happens to be her new roommate, coincidentally, on the other side of the world. Even though I love super-heroes being taken out of their comfort zone and into a new locale, in this issue, Kai sees a red-headed friend from Gotham, and then runs into a red-headed Vigilante from Gotham the next day? This is the bit where we as readers have to do some belief-suspension and just go along with it. This is a long-running super-hero trope that we just have to pretend not to notice. Or is it? Should we expect better from modern comics?

 

At any rate, the action soon ramps up when Kai is attacked by a bad-ass “school girl” and Babs has to jump in as Batgirl, only to have the aforementioned Fruit Bat take care of the kid herself. She deflects a knife-toss meant for her throat, sending it bouncing off a nearby drum and through the School Girl’s tie! Not bad for a lady 104 years in. Babs sees this and decides, as good as she is, she needs more training. Fruit Bat, clearly unable to take her on as a student, tells Batgirl to “find Teacher.” Before succumbing to a weak heart, imparts, “You can’t see the future when the past is standing in your way.” This, plus a billboard, lead our favorite ginger to the MMA Grand Prix in Singapore, and to issue #2.

 

Upon a second reading, I actually liked the mystical coincidences that popped up here, despite it reeking of cliched “Asian magicks.” I’ve always enjoyed when a crime-fighter needs to travel the world to learn different techniques. It gives the character a sense of having to actually work for their abilities, unlike in shows such as Arrow where it only takes the length of an episode to become a master of martial arts and cool weaponry.

The art by Rafael Albuquerque is sketchy yet fluid, kinetic but still solid. It’s a bucket of fun to look at, and the colors by Dave McCaig have a Pop-Art sensibility and don’t take themselves too seriously, if that makes sense. It’s a beautiful book, with a fun story, give it a shot!
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Be sure to visit Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex in Manayunk for great comics just like this one! Like them on Facebook here!
Note from the editor: This month’s Comic Spotlight was delayed due to conflicting schedules.

Free Game Spotlight: RoShamBo Arena

By: TheBizCliz

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Roshambo Arena is a free-to-play, arena fighting game with a lot of awesome features. It is a basic striking game, based off the classic rock, paper, scissors. Released in July by Blam! Games, this is their 25th game creation since the company was founded in 2009. You can find their games on all platforms. One such game is A Gnome’s Home: The Great Crystal Crusade.

In this game, you start off choosing your character name and gender. You start in a tutorial to show you the basic concept of the game. Each round, you battle out boxing style, but instead of just boxing, you battle over classic rock, paper, scissors. The first person to KO their opponent wins the round. However, you also have perks that can allow you to have a more powerful attack, block and a ton more. Each round you earn teeth, which are used to buy stuff for your character, including clothing and helmets. You also earn XP for every win, which allows you to rank up your attack, health, and defense to make you the ultimate boxing champ.

In Roshambo Arena, you have the choice to play through the story or go online and try your rock, paper, scissor skills against the world. The online ranking system starts at bronze and you work your way up to gold. If you choose just to play the story, you rank your way up through the city to become the best.

Some other modes include tournaments where you can enter at a certain cost, battle through the tournament and win double the amount put in. Another mode I am personally looking forward to is groups, which is coming soon. This will allow you to party up with your friends to make the game a little more entertaining. Since it is a free-to-play game, you should have no issue getting your friends to download and join in once the mode is added.

Roshambo Arena can be downloaded through the Steam market, and is a super small download at 229MB. I believe that anyone of all ages can enjoy this game and is very quick to learn because the skill level isn’t high. For the little bit of time I have put into this game, I genuinely enjoyed it and I hope you do too!

Video Games Will Rot Your Brain, or Will They?

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Would you believe it was once believed that reading books would rot your brain?  Amazingly enough that was the pseudo-science of the day in the 19th century.  Even now we still hear about how watching too much TV is bad for you, though the ‘science’ of that seems to be in flux.  Heavy metal music is bad for you and playing Dungeons and Dragons will rot your soul.  We have been dealing with these grasping studies about how the things we love are bad for us, how they’ll rot our brains or souls, or send us straight to hell.

Having grown up in the 80’s and 90’s, I’m no stranger to more than one of these hysterical attempts to convince us we need to change our lifestyles to something more acceptable.  Then I became a parent, and like any logical human being I kept in mind that moderation is key, but I also had to accept that kids are going to go for the things they like.  You can’t force your kid to like playing sports, or want to go outside all the time, learn to ride a bike, or fall in love with the outdoors.  The best you can hope for is that they grow up loving something, do their best, and gather enough skills to help them as adults.  I read books like they were candy, watched TV, listened to metal, and played DnD (hells I still do those things) and I think I turned out all right.

I’m also a gamer, and over the years that has come with its own set of stigma.  Worse, I’m a male gamer and we already know what they say about those.  Recently I was shown an article that, like the person that showed it to me, got my hackles up.  “Don’t let your kids play video games for more than two hours a week, or it will make them antisocial!”  Funny, my son has been more social playing games than any other time in his young life, but what do I know.  I have been a gamer for about thirty years, and I have to say most of my friends have been met through gaming.  Whether it was my friends coming over to play Golden Eye, or Mario Kart, or getting online to play Battlefield, gaming has always been a social experience.  I don’t know if the people doing the study are gamers themselves, but I’ve personally never found gaming to be a solitary experience.  I’m sure sitting a child in a room alone sure emulates a solitary experience, but that’s just not how gaming works in the real world.

Thankfully, with every study about the things that rot our brains, or give us cancer, there’s always counter arguments and different studies.  We can count on broader views to look at things in realistic application and feel confident that our 30 or so years spent gaming did us just as well as it will do our kids.  When those kids go on to become programmers, software analysts, authors, designers, and artists they can look back at the studies done today like we look back at the hysteria over heavy metal and roleplaying.  Gaming is the largest entertainment industry in the world, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and our kids are growing up in a world vastly different from our childhood.  We have to adapt as parent, but just like our parents let us eat raw cookie dough and watch too many cartoons, we’ll do just fine.

This Month in Gaming History: September

This Month in Gaming History: September

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Yes, September is here. The start of my favorite time of the year. If you need something to get you more excited than the start of pumpkin flavored everything, then perhaps a look back on some games that were released in Septembers past will help.

Here is This Month in Gaming History:

Atari 2600

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On September 11, 1977 Atari released Atari 2600. It popularized the use of cartridges for storing games. Before then, the games had been stored in the machine, thus bringing some of us the fond memories we have of blowing into the game cartridges of our childhood.

Super Mario Bros

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Nintendo Entertainment System released a favorite game of my family’s. On September 13, 1985, Super Mario Bros was released. In this extremely successful game, the player controls Mario as he moves forward trying to avoid blocks and other obstacles.

Wing Commander

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Wing Commander is a PC game that was released on September 26, 1990. The player starts off by leaving a space station to fight in a war in space. The player must complete missions to win the game. Wing Commander has proven so successful that it has been remade.

Myst

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On September 24, 1993 Myst was released for Mac from Broderbund. It is a puzzle game where the players use a special book to travel to the Island of Myst. The game has multiple endings depending on the choices of the player.

Battlefield 1942

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Battlefield 1942 is a World War II first-person shooter game. It was released by Electronic Arts on September 10, 2002. This game was the beginning of a very successful franchise with multiple games and expansions.

Steam

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On September 12, 2003 a digital game software was developed that has been a huge deal for many of my gamer friends. Steam was developed by Valve Corporation. It basically provides players with a place to play and save games. Players can also use friends lists, in-voice and chat functions while playing. It has made gameplay much easier and more dependable, since you do not have to be on the same computer every time to log in and play.

Hopefully you don’t have too many blues about the end of summer. I also hope that you will have lots of fun gameplay this autumn. 

Always keep sparkling!