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Free Game Spotlight: Warframe

Free Game Spotlight: Warframe

Dev/Pub: Digital Extremes
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release Date: Mar. 25, 2013

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Warframe, according to the website, is a free-to-play, co-op action sci-fi game set in an ever-evolving open world. You are a Tenno, a warrior who is able to master the Warframe armor, and you are summoned to save the solar system from the Grineer, who are using their armies to take control.

One thing that makes this game so great is the fact that you have several Warframes to choose from. The Warframe is a suit of armor that protects you from enemies and provides you with unique abilities. It basically makes you the type of character you would like to play. A few examples include: Ash, a stealthy suit with lethal abilities; Atlas, the brawler suit, which can altar the environment with incredible force; Ember, a magic user type suit that uses fire to conquer enemies; and many more.

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There are three factions within the game: the Tenno, the Grineer and the Corpus. The Tenno have been cryogenically frozen for centuries and awake to find that their solar system has been taken over by their sworn enemies, the Grineer. The Grineer are militarized humans who are driven by fear and seek to eliminate the Tenno. Finally, the Corpus are a reclusive faction who seek old and ancient technology in order to build new weapons with which to fight both the Tenno and the Grineer.

When you log in for the first time, you see that the graphics are amazing and the gameplay is smooth. The tutorial mission ends when you find your ship, but, to get there, you have to learn how to fight in both melee and ranged situations, loot, and hardcore parkour. This is definitely an MMO that’s worth checking out.

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You can download it from the Warframe website, Steam, the PlayStation Store (site currently down) and the Xbox Store.

Free Game Spotlight: Star Trek Timelines

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Free Game Spotlight: Star Trek Timelines

Dev: Disruptor Beam
Platform: Android, iOS, Browser
Release Date: January, 2016

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Credit: Disruptor Beam                                                                                                 

The free-to-play strategy mobile game, Star Trek Timelines, centers around the idea that a strange anomaly has caused different timelines and realities of Star Trek to merge together, obviously causing conflicts that the player must resolve while they explore the galaxy.

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Credit: Disruptor Beam                                           

The player resolves these conflicts by constructing an away team with the relevant skills and traits to solve the problem in different ways. You can choose characters that will try to resolve conflict diplomatically or you can choose characters that use weapons to gain control over a situation. The game is full of choices which align you towards different characters and groups as you agree or disagree with them. The player gets to level up these characters as they complete missions and collect new crew members with different specialties as the game goes on. The game is made up of these away missions, space battles, and faction missions. All in all, there is a lot of game play to be had in Star Trek Timelines.

Star Trek Timelines is visually impressive with beautiful cutscenes and an interactive, colorful, and detailed galaxy map. One of the most immediate things I remarked on the game was just how well produced it was. Every time I enter the game, I’m greeted by the treat that is John de Lancie’s voice acting as the character Q. There is so much polish on the production and interface of the game that it is understandable why I keep hearing about it.

I do feel however that though the game is well produced in many areas that the mechanics are not as rewarding as the external aspects of the game. And though the game can be a lot of fun, there are some downsides. Read the rest of this entry

This isn’t the Pop Culture You’re Looking For

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Few other cultural groups are as invested in their particular loves as geekdom, and I use that term in the most loving and proud way, as I am a geek myself. When we fall in love with a movie we don’t just want
to know how it ends, we want to know everything. We often buy the art books, encyclopedias of our favorite fantasy worlds, history books of fictional places, novels, comics, and anything else that expands the universe we love. Many of them have histories, mythologies, and people as diverse and complex as that of the real world. We know these planets, universes, hobbit holes, and starships like they are real places.

The other thing we are is welcoming. Every geek I know would love to sit you down and tell you all about their favorite Jedi, or the best scene in Aliens. We can talk for hours about the differences between Star Wars and Star Trek, and we’d love to give you a rousing rendition of the time our 12th level fighter/mage bit it while swinging across a chasm trying to fight the last great dragon of the depths. Sometimes that can be overwhelming, but believe you me, if you sit and listen to these stories without rolling your eyes, sighing, or talking about how childish it is, you’ll have a friend for life.

I’ve watched this culture grow over the years, sometimes slowly, and recently by leaps and bounds. No longer are geeks reviled…in most areas, and it’s even cool to call oneself a geek in most places. The drawback to this being fashionable, is suddenly you have people doing it because it’s cool, not because they’ve found something they love. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with not knowing, being ignorant if you will. There’s nothing at all wrong with dipping your toe in because you liked Avengers, or Star Wars has caught your interest with the new movie. What really gets under our skin, those of us who have been living this our whole lives, been bullied, pushed around, called names, and suddenly seeing people wave a geek flag to be cool, what really flips our asshole switch? Fake. Don’t…be…fake. Don’t pretend you know something, ask. Remember above? There’s not a geek alive that wouldn’t love to tell you all about whatever it is you want to know. If you’re doing it just as a fad, well great, that R2D2 dress looks great on you, but don’t mind me if I go find something more interesting to do. I’m not into fashion trends, clothing or otherwise. I’m a geek remember?

So, the point of all this. Worse than the fashion geeks, who are really harmless people looking for the next thing that will make them cool, are the pop culture writers who couldn’t be bothered to actually learn a little of what they’re writing about. Like a school of pilot fish following the biggest shark, pop culture writers latch onto whatever is trending and write articles that fit whatever narrative their particular outlet is in love with at the time. Sadly, to the general public, and those new to geek culture, these articles often make a lot of sense, and lead to a great deal of ignorance.

Take, for example, this piece for the Sydney Morning Herald, Please make a Muslim hero character, J. J. Abrams, – we need it. The writer claims to be a fan of Star Wars and Star Trek, but is he? Or does he have just a passing interest in them? The writer would like to see a Muslim hero in a Star Trek or Star Wars movie, one where humans have given up all pretense of religion, and another where Earth, and her religions are a long time in the future and far, far away. How can anyone not expect the geek community to get upset about this? In order to insert such a character into either franchise would be the definition of tokenism. It would just be for the sake of representation, because it would entirely defy the lore of both universes. Now, while Star Wars has real world equivalents, there would be no such thing as Arabic, or Islam. It just isn’t possible. In Star Trek, however, there have been characters of Middle Eastern descent, most notably in DS9’s Julian Bashir, and recently Captain Robau in the new alternate reality movies. Could we see a main character/hero of Arabic descent in Star Trek? Sure. Why not? But Muslim? Or in Star Wars? How would it even make sense without being 100% tokenism?

Another frustration for me as an avid lover of SciFi all these years are all the articles coming out about how Rey, of the new Star Wars: Episode VII is somehow this breath of fresh air in science fiction (Star Wars is fantasy, but I’ll let that slide), and completely erasing all the strong female leads we’ve had since I was a kid. For frak’s sake people, Google is a thing, you know. It takes roughly ten seconds of research to find out that of all the movie genres available, SciFi has been one of the most prolific for female leads. Hell, the top search result, The Top 40 Kick-Ass Female Sci-Fi Characters, is quite honestly a kick-ass list, and not even complete. Rey is awesome, I liked her, and I do not agree with a lot of the criticism, but let’s give it some perspective. She is not the first, and thankfully won’t be the last, kick-ass woman to wield a blaster, or light saber. Even in the Star Wars universe she isn’t the first, and it sucks to see people act as if all those who came before are meaningless.

On a final note of absolutely ignorant clickbait, for the sake of what’s popular…

 

The title of the article doesn’t match the tweet, “Female superhero movie fastest to reach $1 Billion”, but the article itself does say, “TFA’s success is a testament to the storytelling and history of the franchise. But it also should be a nail in the coffin of the myth that a female superhero movie can’t be successful.” First of all…Vox…if you’re going to write about Star Wars, you really should learn that it’s not a superhero movie. If you really want to write commentary on geek culture, geeks will welcome you, but we can spot a fake a mile away. Of course they link to, The Long List of Successful Action Movies Starring Women which is an article about other non-superhero movies staring women that doesn’t at all support if there’s a myth one way or the other. It actually states that some have been successful and some haven’t, so really…not a myth at all. At the end of the day, the entire thing is manufactured, and ignorant. It’s just another example of people trying to cash in on what’s popular, currently geek stuff, and really not knowing what it’s all about.

I can’t say it enough, if you want to explore geek culture, you are very welcome, but if you’re going to treat it with disregard while you’re ‘slumming it,’ no thanks. We love to read about what we love, so take some care and do some research. We’ll watch endless documentaries on actors from our favorite shows going to conventions to talk about those shows we love. What we don’t love is people who clearly have no knowledge about the topic trying to get involved, especially when that involvement turns to politics, shaming, or chest beating for your favorite pet movement.