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Quick Start: City of Heroes – Homecoming

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Lords, ladies, lads and lasses, I am Vinni the Troll and I have good news for you.

The capes are back. City of Heroes shut down roughly 7 years ago and it has been resurrected by a devoted fan base. How much will this cost you? Nothing. How can you get into the game? With three easy steps: 

  1. Head to the City of Heroes: Homecoming forums and create an account.
  2. Login to the forums and then go to the Game Account thread and create a game account. If you have trouble try a different name. This will NOT be your global handle, so don’t worry about that yet.
  3. Download the Tequila (pc) or Island Rum (mac) launcher and install the game

That’s it.

What can I play as?

You can create a hero or a villain, playing in either Paragon City or The Rogue Isles. You can choose to play through the tutorial, or skip it altogether. You’ll have access to all the archetypes, even the epics: Peacebringer, Warshade, Arachnos Soldier, and Widow.

How do I change my Global Handle?

Once in the game you can change your global handle (your first toon’s name) from the main menu.

I’m not starting with much, am I?

If you miss the prestige sprints, jump pack, Nemesis Staff, Black Wand, etc. look for the P2W Vendor. They are in the tutorials and starting zones and will give you what you desire for free (despite their name). They even have boosters for experience and the origin starter powers.

That’s it for my helpful 2 merits. See you on the flip side.

Review: Detective Pikachu (the movie)

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Is Pokémon: Detective Pikachu the very best video game movie, like no one ever was?

Well, the competition wasn’t exactly fierce.  But, yes.  Yes, it is. While I’m no longer the huge fan of Pokémon that I used to be, I had a good time watching this movie.

It’s interesting, based on the different reviews that I’ve read and watched, how many people don’t seem to realize that this “video game movie” is based on a specific video game in the Pokémon franchise: Detective Pikachu for the Nintendo 3DS.  I played and reviewed the game in anticipation for the movie’s release and really enjoyed it.  The film is a loose adaptation that follows the premise and some of the major story beats, but mostly does its own thing.

Tim Goodman, a young man who once dreamed of becoming a Pokémon trainer, travels to Ryme City after hearing that his father was killed in a car accident.  When he gets to the apartment, he discovers his father’s partner: a talking Pikachu that nobody else can understand.  Pikachu claims that Tim’s father, a renown detective, is still alive somewhere, and proposes that they team up to solve the mystery of what happened to him.  After a few mishaps, Tim reluctantly agrees.

A lot of reviewers have praised the film for bringing the world of Pokémon to life, and I’m going to join the chorus.  Wow.  I’m also not alone in saying that I would have been satisfied with a film that showed long, extended shots of this world and absolutely nothing else.

Detective Pikachu takes the game’s concept of Pokémon as partners and combines it with the more familiar world of the main series and the anime.  It’s established that kids like Tim do traditionally leave home and go on adventures to capture Pokémon.  Tournaments exist.  The Kanto region is mentioned.  However, none of the usual rules exist in Ryme City, which is specifically designed to be a place where battles are banned.  Pokémon and humans live side-by-side, as they do in the 3DS game.  It’s a treat to see all of the different Pokémon fitting in this live-action world in ways that you might expect to see them if they existed.

There are fun shout-outs to different parts of the franchise.  I know I missed a lot of them, having been out of the loop for so long, but there was still plenty for this Gen 1 fan to love.

Although this film did a wonderful job of realizing the world of Pokémon, it wasn’t perfect.  It started out strong, but I had some issues with the pacing of certain scenes.  Right as Tim meets Detective Pikachu for the first time, some Aipom attack the apartment and a chase ensues.  Immediately following said chase, Tim goes back to questioning why he can understand Pikachu.  And Pikachu, as voiced by Ryan Reynolds, makes nonstop quips throughout the scene. It all happens so fast that it’s hard to follow at times.  It wasn’t until the underground battle with Charizard when I really started to become invested again.

Speaking of which, that live-action battle was thrilling.  All of the action scenes were fun to watch and kept me interested in what was happening. And while many reviewers have stated that they found the story twists to be a bit too obvious, there were a few moments that caught me off guard.

And now I’m going to get a little controversial and admit that I didn’t find Ryan Reynolds to be as funny as I anticipated.  I thought he fit the role of Detective Pikachu better than his video game counterpart (Kaiji Tang), and I definitely laughed during the movie- just not as hard as I thought I would.  The character that got most of the best jokes was Psyduck.

But Reynolds did have some great chemistry with Justice Smith, who plays Tim Goodman.  And just as I predicted, I liked Smith’s version of Tim much better than the protagonist of the 3DS game.  He and Pikachu have some very heartwarming scenes together, as well as funny moments.

If you love everything about Pokémon, you should love this movie.  If you hate everything about Pokémon, then this movie’s not really for you.  Detective Pikachu embraces the source material instead of poking fun at it.  It’s not a perfect film, but it is fun, and I hope there will be sequels.  I’d rate it 7 out of 10 Pokéballs.

Review: Detective Pikachu (The Game)

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Between the movie adaptation coming out and one of my friends highly recommending the game to me, I finally decided to play Detective Pikachu.  It’s a spinoff of the Pokémon franchise for the Nintendo 3DS/2DS that’s not as bizarre as it sounds.  I had no idea what to expect from it.  What I got was a fun game that kids and diehard Pokémon fans should enjoy.

Detective Pikachu follows the adventures of a teenage boy named Tim Goodman, who’s looking for his missing father.  Harry Goodman was a famous police detective who went missing after a suspicious car accident.  Only his partner, Pikachu, could be found at the scene.

By the time that Tim arrives in Ryme City, two months after the incident, his father’s Pikachu has somehow gained the ability to speak- but only Tim can understand him.  He presents himself as “the Great Detective Pikachu” and wants to help Tim find his missing father.  Unfortunately, Pikachu isn’t much help in one respect: he suffers from amnesia and can’t recall what happened during the accident.  So Tim and Pikachu team up to investigate Harry’s last case and figure out why he disappeared.

The game is divided into nine “chapters,” each concerning a unique case.  Tim and Pikachu work together to solve crimes by interrogating suspects and searching the crime scene.  Pikachu gives the duo an advantage by talking to all of the Pokémon witnesses and translating their testimony for Tim.  It’s all very straightforward and you’re not likely to get stuck on any point in this game.  If you’re looking for a serious challenge, don’t expect to find one with Detective Pikachu.

Don’t expect to collect any Pokémon or engage in battles either.  In the world of Detective Pikachu, most people have one Pokémon as their “partner,” similar to Ash’s friendship with his own Pikachu.  The secretary at the Baker Detective Agency has a Fletching that delivers mail for her, a talented violinist works with a Kricketune that helps her practice, and a police office partners with a Manetric that uses his nose to solve crimes.

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t get as much out of the world building or the Pokémon cameos as I ought to have.  As a kid, I stopped paying attention to the Pokémon franchise after the first movie and I’m only just starting to regain interest now.  My knowledge of Pokémon begins and ends with Gen 1.  As it is, I liked the game’s setting and the Pokémon that I encountered.  Lifelong fans will probably love everything about them.

This game does an impressive job with episodic storytelling.  Each case leads directly into the next and has some importance to the whole plot. When I think of other video games or TV shows that try to do this, they usually follow a certain format: the premieres and the finales are where all the important stuff happens.  Then you get a lot of “monster of the week” episodes in between that are loosely connected to what the characters hope to accomplish.  Without going into spoilers, I can say that that’s not the case with Detective Pikachu.  Granted, not every mystery directly ties back to Harry and his investigation.  But Pikachu and Tim always have a reason to be where they are and they find clues in every case that help them piece together the larger mystery.

Speaking of Tim and Detective Pikachu, they had a nice partnership and I liked all of the human characters in the game.  However, I found Tim to be a little too flat and generic.  As of this writing, the movie hasn’t come out yet, so it’s too early to pass judgment on who will ultimately give the superior acting performances.  Still, based on what I’ve seen in the trailers, I’m enjoying Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith much more.

Overall, Detective Pikachu is a solid game and I recommend playing it if you have a Nintendo 3DS (or 2DS).  It’s simple to play, which makes it a good choice for young kids to try out.  Fans will enjoy the story, the setting, and the many different kinds of Pokémon. Enjoy it before you watch the movie!

Games Created by Women: Gravity Ghost

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gravity ghost

Sometimes you need to play a game that is just visually appealing. No killing or shooting. Just great graphics and good music.

Released in 2015 Gravity Ghost is just a lovely game. It was developed by Erin Robinson Swink, who is not just a game designer. She also helped start the label that launched Gravity Ghost. IVYGAMES is taking a new approach to video games. Currently you can play the game on Steam, but 2019 is the year it will also be available on PS4 with some new content.

erin robinson

Gravity Ghost is a peaceful game all about planet hopping. Iona is a ghost in search of her best friend, a ghost fox, who is lost. As you play you will meet guardians. You will explore the galaxy and rescue survivors. There are multiple levels of interesting gravity challenges for the player as they level up in the game.

The soundtrack for Gravity Ghost is really lovely. It perfectly sets the mood of floating through space. The character design is rich and colorful. The overall design of the game is full of calming colors. There is story woven through the challenges in the game.

All together Gravity Ghost is a lot of things that we don’t get an abundance of in games anymore. It is a game that is meant to stimulate. It is also calming by design. You feel like you are free in space as you play. The colors and the music come together with the challenges of the game to build this perfect world.

I would recommend this game if you are looking for challenging yet alternative game play. If you want a treat for your eyes and a more calm form of stimulation this is the game for you.

gg

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Top 10 Free-to-Play Steam Games of All Time

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1. Counter-Strike

This is a game that has changed a lot and only a little over the years that it has been out. It was actually created 19 years ago and has evolved into a free-to-play game. It was once a pay-to-play (that’s when I got it!) and has since become free-to-play as of 2018. There is a more battle royale feel to this in the Danger rwog_csgoZone, but you can still just go play with bots if you wish.

You start the match as either Terrorist or Counter-Terrorist and after so many rounds, you switch sides. The idea is for the Terrorist team to win by setting off the bomb, or the Counter-Terrorist team to stop them from doing this to win. I spent many hours with my friends practicing and playing this because my significant other needed to practice a lot for the super-insane group of people he played this with. There is no pay-to-win here as you can only purchase cosmetics with real money.

2. Warframe

This is a third person co-op game that has always been free-to-play, to my knowledge anyway. You are located in space and you can warframe_rwogchoose different characters to play, some of which are free, some of which you find parts to get, and others that you can buy. You go and do missions on different planets to get upgrades to your armor, pets, weapons, abilities, etc. In the past year they added a more open-world planet (possibly more than one) to go get items on as well instead of just the missions. I can say I didn’t play this much, but I did enjoy the few times that I did. You could say this game has a few pay-to-win advantages as you can buy upgrades and characters to play.

3. Path of Exile

This is an MMORPG game that has a bit of a learning curve. You have to go through the story and zones to level up, get better armor and wpoe_rwogeapons, as well as learn more skills. You can customize your character a hell of a lot in this game, but it can be overwhelming for some as the gameplay can be difficult at times. A bonus to this customization is you can choose the same type of character as your friends and still have completely different spells and play styles. I hear this is much easier (and more fun) with your friends, but can definitely be played alone. I never made it very far in this game (it updates a lot and I have shitty internet), but I know a few people who really enjoy it. Also, it is never pay-to-win as you can’t purchase advantages with real money.

4. Smite

To me, Smite seems like a very complicated game. I did try to play this a few times, but never really got into it. This is a battleground game that now has over 100 gods that you smite_rwogcan choose from to play. You can be Zeus, or Loki, or even the Monkey King.  There are multiple types of competition that you can play such as competitive mode and conquest.  This is a hugely popular game that people like to brag about where they are on the leaderboard and I would say they have good reason as I found it a bit difficult. Also, no pay-to-win here that I know of, unless you consider being able to open up all Gods with the Ultimate God Pack an advantage.

5. Team Fortress 2

This is another game that was not originally free-to-play, but has become so recently. I have not played this game, but it seems to be another battleground battle. It has a lot of maps and nine different classes that you can teamfortress2_rwogplay as. They advertise it as constantly being updated with new game modes, maps, equipment, and hats (which they say is most important! Lol). You can collect, craft, buy and trade hats and weapons in this game so that you can truly customize your character and therefore your gameplay. As that is about all you can buy.. this is not a pay-to-win game either!

6. War Thunder

This is a military game that has aircraft, naval, and ground vehicles from the 1930s all the way up into the 2000s for you to command… in the same match! They advertise it as warthunder_rwogthe most comprehensive free-to-play, cross-platform, MMO military game for Windows, Linux, Mac, and PS4. It basically lets you have a full on war with all of the vehicles you would want. And who doesn’t love a game that is cross-platform?! I’ve never played it, but my significant other has and says that it is a great time if you like free military games. There is both PvE and PvP content so that everyone can enjoy it. And definitely not a pay-to-win game.

7. DOTA 2

This is another battleground game – I think I’m seeing a pattern! – that you can play that is constantly evolving. They boast that alldota2_rwog of their heroes are free and can fill multiple roles in the game allowing people to change things up in every battle. They want you to play how you want and find your favorite play style, but also be able to change it if the need arises. You can play co-op versus bots or you can go play PvP. I have never played this game, so I have no personal experience with it, but it is definitely not pay-to-win!

8. Paladins

This is one of the first battle royales that I can remember playing and came out just months after Overwatch did. This is more of a fantasy shooter where you can have guns or magic and customize your abilities to play the way you like. When I played this it was paladins_rwog5 v 5 battles, but I’m not sure if that has changed at all. There are a lot of cool skins that you can get for the characters and the battles can sometimes be really intense. They have done a few updates since it came out and currently Future’s End is the game going on. They have a new champion, Atlas, and as the others are he is free. Anything that affects gameplay is unlocked just by playing, so this is not a pay-to-win game. Although you could call it a pay-to-look good game (lol).

9. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

So, if you don’t know, Yu-Gi-Oh! was originally a Japanese Manga series about gaming that was written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. Over the years this has morphedyugioh_rwog into animes, novels, films, and games. This game is based upon trading cards for Yu-Gi-Oh! and is basically that, but online. It allows you to do duels, and PvP, as well as create your own deck with the cards you get in-game. They have voices from the anime in-game and great 3D animations. I have not personally played it, but it looks like fun if you are into trading cards. I am not sure if any of the in-app purchases make this pay-to-win.

10. World of Warships

Another battle game! (I told you – pattern!) As you can gather by the name, this is naval combat at its finest. You can choose from Japanese, American, German, British, French, Russian, Pan Asia, Italy, Commonwealth, and Poland. Not to mention, the premium ships that can be from nations not in those tech trees. Within these tech trees you can choose from Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships, and aircraft carriers. You will always start in a cruiser, but from there you can work your way up to tier 10 ships via the different worldofwarships_rwogbranches as you choose. You can play PvP in this game – the fastest way to level up – or you can choose to level up by playing PvE. My significant other plays this game heavily and really enjoys it (if you want to try it, I can get you an invite link that will give you free stuff! Just send me a message on our Discord!).

You can purchase ships for real money, but I’m not really considering that pay-to-win as when you play matches the ships on the other side are the same ships on your side of the battle. A fun fact about Wargaming is that they choose to use some of their proceeds to benefit real ships that are still out there. Earlier this year I actually went to the U.S.S Texas for free thanks to Wargaming. They had a scavenger hunt to give away prizes, they gave away ships in the game, and they gave away some nice take-home prizes (a gaming console and some leaves made from metal from the ship!). It was a great time and a great way for them to give back! From my knowledge they do this every year at the Texas.


That’s all for this list! But keep an eye out for many more Top Tens right here on Real Women of Gaming!

Top Ten Ways to Engage with your Nerdy Child

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Understanding your kids can be tough. Particularly if they have very different interests then you do. Fandoms can seem weird and perhaps even a bit scary to a person who is unfamiliar. They are also a lot of fun! For some of us these nerdy years will be the foundation of who we will become. I think my parents would have loved a list of ways to engage with me, probably still would. So here are ten ways that you can engage with your nerdy child.

1. Listen.

I know it can be difficult, particularly if you have no idea what they are talking about. However just sitting down to listen to them talk will not only keep your child’s trust but will also give them a confidence boost. It makes them feel important. It will also give good memories associated with both you and the interests that they are cultivating. Who knows you might end up loving it too.

2. Check out your local Library.

Yes I know that I have a bias for this as I have run many events for children in different fandoms and activities. So take this one from personal experience that these events can be really great. They are usually free. They give your child a safe space to interact with others about what they love. So please go check out your local Library and see what they have going on.  Also the staff who are running the event are having just as much fun as the kids. As proof here is a picture of myself and Iris the Keyblade Master at an event we were working.

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ThiaTheBard and IrisTheKeybladeMaster

3. The internet can be your friend.

You can and should research what your child is into. Not only will it help you talk to them about it but it gives you resources that you can look into on your own time.

4. Go to your local shops, comic or gaming.

There is a lot of good that can come from this suggestion. These shops are one more space for you and your child to experience what they love. The employees can also help you to learn more about what your child is into. How you can support them and can also help support you. Also, you being a patron of these places helps them to stay open and provide these services for others. It is a great, grand nerdy circle of life!

5. Get together with other parents to learn from each other and support each other.

As mentioned above you also need support. You can all learn from each other. Vent to each other. Just try to figure out what is happening together. Being confused in a group is always better than being confused alone.

6. Encourage your child.

Particularly if they are doing art, cosplay or writing. It can be difficult when just starting out. You are a person they can look to for guidance and a little boost.

7. Help them with goals related to their interests.

Anything from cosplay, making models or word count. It can be really tough for children to break up their path to success. Sometimes they may need a hand in figuring out how to best navigate the steps to their goals. What may seem insurmountable to them but something you can break down to make it a little more manageable.

8. Help them get to safe spaces they can make friends who actually share their interests.

Sometimes just giving them a ride can be a huge help.

9. Try their interests.

Ask them to help teach you to draw, sew, design, game, watch the movie or read the book. Not only will this help you learn it shows them that you care. Also, you may really like it.

10. Remember something you loved.

Remember what you needed and try to give it to them. Talk to your child about it. Let them know you have cool interests too.

I hope that this might have helped a little. Mostly just remember to show love. Love will always be the best way to have your child’s back and give them a little advantage in this world. If you have any other tips leave them in a comments below! 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!

Games Created by Women: Centipede

250px-Atari0028For many gamers, there are fantastic memories associated with games from the 1980s. Between the accessibility of arcades and finally being able to play at home these games became a foundation for so many of us who like to game.

One such game was released in 1981. Centipede was sent out into the world by Atari and it has been a favorite ever since. Many quarters have been lined up on Centipede machines in arcades through the years. One of the creators of this game is Dona Bailey. Dona has truly been a pioneer for women in the field of programming.

 

If you choose to play this game you should know that you are our only hope. Using a gun at the bottom of the screen you must target and shoot down threats. These threats come down the screen in waves. The player must try to shoot them down with a gun at the bottom of the screen. You can only go so far and so fast so this game so it requires patience and skill. It is a lot of fun though!

dona bailey

The game isn’t very complicated looking by today’s standards. However that is not to take away from the graphic design of it’s time. Centipede has a classic look and feel when being played. The concept is great. The music is timeless. So if you are looking for an old school game to play this is the one to get.

 

I would like totally recommend this game. It is a great game to start off with. It is also a great game for nostalgia feels. 

ALWAYS KEEP SPARKLING!