January 29, 2007

Warioware is Fun

Filed under:Reviews, Videogames, Wii — Lake Desire @ 10:21 pm

Warioware: Smooth Moves came in the mail on Saturday (thanks Mom!) and I played through the one-player mode yesterday. Basically, I went around Diamond City and completed levels where I played through one really brief minigame after another. Warioware is very clever with different ways to use the Wii Remote, and has me all giddy to see what’s next for the console.

warioware mario

I love the cell-shading graphics. I’m sure a sucker for cute games! My favorite part was the retro-games level, where I blinked through familiar minigame after minigame: Mario, Brain Age, Star Fox, Wind Waker.

My roommate David and I were disappointed in two-player mode. We couldn’t figure out how to set it to play with two remotes so we didn’t have to pass our greasy remote back and forth (we were eating grilled peanut butter and banana chocolate chip sandwiches), nor did we figure out how to incorporate the nunchuck.

I need to play this game more before I write up a proper review. I’m very happy with one-player mode, but I’m waiting to see how my friends do with it because a good group game is what I was really hoping for with the Wii.


As far as the story–I loved the dancing kittens, but come on, script writers, be a little more creative! Show the kids who are playing (and grownups!) that girls are cheerleaders and witches and boys are more than samurai and football players and disco stars.


January 18, 2007

Lake Desire Elsewhere: Wii Review

Filed under:Lake Desire Elsewhere, Reviews, Wii — Lake Desire @ 10:31 am

My Wii review was published in this week’s issue of AS Review, the weekly paper I work for. Does this make me a game journalist?

Console gaming has gone beyond pushing buttons with your fingers for decades. Remember Duckhunt and Nintendo Track and Field? Some accessories have been more successful than others. Virtual Boy and SNES Super Scope are remembered with nostalgia for their lack of popularity. On the other hand, new titles are released regularly for Dance Dance Revolution, which you can play at home with dance pads, since the late 90s, and I hear that Guitar Hero is pretty hot these days.

But before Wii, games that needed more than pushing buttons were either gimmicks or fun accessories for niche games.

The Wii is unique because as a console it incorporates full bodymotion into play. It’s the system’s entire concept. The Wii normalizes using your body to play video games, and gives game developers a big venue to get creative. Future consoles will only have more immersive features. Wii is really promising for a person like me who can’t wait to really feel like she’s swinging a sword.

One of the things I love about video games is their capacity for indulging me in what I can’t do in real life, and Wii makes my indulgence even more engaging.

The format is kind of weird (hey, we’re low budget college students), but you can read the whole thing here.


March 15, 2006

Resident Evil 4: Come here girl!

Filed under:Resident Evil Series, Reviews, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 5:48 pm

Mutant Bonding

As Meghann mentioned in yesterday’s post, we’re playing Resident Evil 4 together on GameCube. We have a sweet partnership going on. Meghann is the coach. She spots things before I do, and pushes me to keep going when I get frustrated or stuck. In turn, she experiences the game from a more comfortable position. I’m a filter between the stress induced by of hordes of mutant peasants.



January 13, 2006

Run, Logan, Run!

Filed under:Gender, Race, Reviews, Science Fiction — Lake Desire @ 11:24 am

My cyborg anthropology course has an adjunct, one-credit film class called Folk Science in Film where we meet weekly to watch and discuss scifi films through an anthropological lens. We’ll be watching Equilibrium, Ghost in the Shell 2, Star Trek: TNG Best of Both Worlds I & II (the episodes where Picard is assimilated by and deborged.), Crash (the old one), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Gattaca. (Offline friends: guests are welcome, so send me an E-mail for the time and location.)

Last night we started off with Logan’s Run, a classic scifi cheeseball from 1976. In 2274, people live in a dome and are are summoned to a die at age 30. They go willingly into the carousel, before a peppy crowd of their peers, for a chance at renewal. Logan is a sandman, a police officer of sorts who hunts down “runners” who try to flee the city instead of going to carousel.

My brother’s name is Logan, so that was reason enough to eagerly watch the film when it came on television. I was frightened by the carousel (I couldn’t go on merry-go-rounds for years) nor bring myself to watch the movie again until I was a teen. This was my first time moving beyond filling the plotholes to actually analyze the movie.

Pam Noles’s essay, Shame, was still fresh in my mind when I watched the film. She noticed, as a little girl, that there were no people of color in Star Wars. Logan’s Run was released a year earlier, so I wasn’t really surprised the only person of color any of my class spotted in the film was a black man with an afro and bright gold bracelets, in a crowd shot. We’ve got one token person of color, the black man, for the entire “utopia.”

No surprise, my 21st-century, radical feminist gaze took note of the gender roles in Logan’s society (or 1970s Hollywood?). The sandmen are all men, and the only other characters who actually have “jobs” beyond looking pretty are a plastic surgeon at “new-you” and a ditzy female assistant who has difficulty doing more than act sexy (ironically, it is the female heroine Jessica who rescues her). Besides Logan, all of the clients at new-you lobby are women–because women are the ones who care about staying young.

Earlier in the film, Logan flips through a teleporter “circuit” to find a lover for the night. A man appears first, and Logan shakes his head in disapproval and moves on to meet the heroine, Jessica 7. When she refuses his advances, he asks her if she’s a lesbian. Logan’s buddy shows up with a woman on each arm and Jessica slips away. Logan ponders at her absence for a moment, but is quickly distracted when the two willing women jump on him.

Logan forces Jessica to return later because she won’t come to see him willingly. He tells her she’s the most beautiful woman he’s seen and he won’t force her to have sex with him. He’s giving her a choice about what to do with her body. Whether Logan’s authority comes from his job as sandman or simply because he is male is unclear, but sandmen are only men. In a film released three years after Roe v. Wade, women’s freedom to choose is a privilege granted by men. This strikes very close to real life where women’s freedoms to choose–from voting to reproductive choices–have been given, and particularly the later teeter dangerously close to being taken away.


January 1, 2006

First Impression, Second Life

Filed under:Massively Multiplayer Online Games, Reviews, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 7:42 pm

My character, Pali PopinjayAfter attention to in-game magazine Sluster, I decided to give Second Life a try. This is the first time I’ve played a social MMO since Furcadia in the late 90s, and the game did seem like a more advanced version of the anthropomorphic social but of course with human avatars in addition to furries.

When I created my character, Pali Popinjay, I really liked how much I could customize her appearance. Height, facial features, and even several aspects of the shape of her waist were mine to design. It was a refreshing after the same two-to-five appearance “choices” I’m used to having forced upon me in other online games like FFXI and WoW.

Wandering, I was a bit lost with the influx of possibilities, but that is usual I start a new world-oriented game. My iBook didn’t much like running the game, which surprised me since it doesn’t have a problem with World of Warcraft.

Overall, my first impression of Second Life is one of disorientation, but I look forward to giving the game a real go on a better computer.


December 10, 2005

“Beyond Good and Evil” Feminism through the Back Door

Filed under:Feminism, Reviews — Lake Desire @ 8:30 am

Sour Duck has written a feminist analysis of Beyond Good and Evil for Media Girl.

Tension between traditional and modern narratives

Some elements of the narrative provide tension between a more traditional female role and a more modern, feminist understanding of Jade.

Firstly, she’s given permission to rebel, sleuth, break rules, and explore through a traditional “protector mother” narrative. She’s doing this all for the children – that is, the orphans at the lighthouse.

This is a non-threatening role for a female character, as it gives her special license to act up and act out, in a way that women usually aren’t allowed. Think Sigorney Weaver’s maternal motive in “Alien 2″, or, more recently, Jodie Foster’s character in Flightplan. Audiences are more comfortable seeing women as acting upon the world when their motivation is child-based.

And yet Jade-as-protector turns out to be a pretense that is dropped fairly quickly. Sporadically, she thinks of the orphans, but this motivation is on-parr with her need to know the truth. While the game appears to cater to conservative views of gender roles, it is actually some pretty thin wallpaper. The real puzzle, for Jade and the player, is:

Under whose control is she living?

This is the core of the game.

I haven’t played Beyond Good or Evil yet (although I hope to over the holidays–I don’t have as much time for gaming as I’d like these days–and will share my response to th game), but Jade was frequently listed as a positive female role-model by those who responded to my women gamers discussion.

Article found through Shrub.com.