This Week in Gaming is a weekly gaming and esports news wrap up. I try to get the 3-5 biggest headlines. Check back every week on Saturday to watch the wrap-up. Also feel free to check out my other videos on YouTube. I have videos from Let’s Plays to Headwrap Tutorials: SUBSCRIBE HERE
Xbox Avatar gets a Makeover & Includes more Black Hair Styles
Fornite Boobs: Lazy Devs or Difficult Mechanics?
September’s Nintendo Direct Wrap w/ an in-depth look at Splatoon & Super Mario Party
Cuddle_core says how the Tekken 7 Season 2 Patch Affects Alisa
Mass Shooting at Madden Tournament in Florida – Interviewing the Survivors
60 Parsecs is a survival simulation game placed in outer space during the 1960s. This space-bound game is a sequel of 60 seconds game, another simulation game. Both developed by indie dev Robot Gentleman.
The Story… IN SPACE!
The captain of the Astrocitizen Program either, Emmet or DeeDee, starts off in a space station. Then, a warning hits the intercom saying the station is about to blow! The plan is to gather up crew and resources in 60 seconds before being blasted into space to drift until you find a planet on which to land. And sometimes more is less, not in the terms of cans of soup, but crewmates.
There are three parts to the simulation game, The Drill, Voyager and finally, Survival. After one playthrough you’re able to play in the different modes without going through the sequence. So, instead of having to go through The Drill, which includes the tutorial and the captain gathering materials; there’s an option to dive right into Voyager. In Voyager, the game chooses which resources and crew members are on board and lets the player make the decisions from there. The last mode is Survival. During Survival, the crew finds a planet to inhabit, goes through another set of decision-making series and possibly loses a few mates to hunger or insanity. Better keep those socks handy and not for the reason you’d think.
Ay yo, DeeDee losin’ it!
60 Parsecs feels like a Pepper-Ann, Saturday morning cartoon. It is very colorful and keeps the same temperature of color throughout the game; plus it is drawn 2D with black outlines. The start menu is a room with a computer which starts the simulation. The graphics on the computer are grey with a pixelated font. The style of the computer is 95 Macintosh. Once the simulation starts the captain is in their quarters surrounded by cots, baby building blocks, (which could be a hit at children on board but have not been proven yet) and maybe event a crewmate with a bucket stuck on his foot. The shuttle layout is viewed top-down. All the rooms cannot be viewed by standing in one spot. The captain must move throughout the shuttle and find resources and other mates. The room layouts are subtle. The resources are hidden in plain sight within the rooms. When running around the shuttle looking for resources items will highlight very slightly if they can be obtained. And if they cannot the captain will say, “No!”
While the game is loading various beeps and buzzing sound effects are heard, almost like an arcade pinball machine. Even while choosing who will captain the ship there are SFX clicks and clacks of a computer. I’ve never been on a 60s spaceship or any spaceship for that matter, but the atmosphere conveys well. The music presents a trippy 60s sci-fi feel. While walking around and bumping into things during The Drill, there is a satisfying feel of hearing the clamoring chaos of moving furniture, glass bottles, cans of soup cluttering the floor as well as the captain’s space boots stomping from one room to the next while the shuttle doors woosh open in search of crewmates and supplies. While the sound effects are great the amount of stuff on the floor is massive. Plus things are moving everywhere. When Captain Emmet runs and crashes into items they move in front of him causing him to maneuver around them, this is time-consuming! Remember there are only 60 seconds to gather resources.
Run Emmet, you finna die!
How to Move in Space Boots
Maneuvering around items and through the space shuttle is made easy because the controls are simple. Doing them quickly and flawlessly are the hard skills to acquire. There are four controls, including the mouse. Up, down, left, right and click to select. On PC, WSAD or the arrow keys can be used to move the captain around. After entering Voyager only the mouse is used. In Voyager is where the real decision making comes in. No 60’s space shuttle would be complete without being equipped with a sassy A.I. or may be out to kill or just undermine their captain. The A.I. shows everyone’s stats. This isn’t helpful for the first playthrough yet will be something to remember during the second. Knowing what the crew’s strength helps when you land on a planet. Playing with every character is also a great idea because what the A.I. doesn’t tell you is that DeeDee eats like a caveman at a buffet! Baby Bronco takes up two spots on the ship this forces you to leave a crew member behind. Either way, you can’t save ‘em all. During Survival, various crewmates are sent out to discover the planet. Perhaps someone strong should search in caves while someone who has a bit more intelligence should find a museum. Or maybe none of that matters because the more you stretch your crew to take on different tasks it levels up different abilities. Do NOT forget to upgrade the suit and craft something every day! Captain Emmet is pretty smart if he keeps making decisions that play to his intelligence instead of his agility he’ll be a super genius by the end of the simulation. And sometimes no decision is the best decision. Plus being friendly helps – remember you’re the immigrant in outer space. There seem to be a lot of planets and possible situations in this simulation. Every time a new simulation begins the crew and resources are in different spots. At first, this game felt like you couldn’t win, you just do a little better each time, like that game Cleveland was playing in Family Guy. Although the outcomes seem grim, there is an ending where the Captain survives.
That boy got little!
Did this game blow my mind like a quasar?
The first thing I find myself doing was wanting to replay because I perished so quickly. After my third replay, I began to appreciate and get a feel for the game. The story is very simple. The only part that makes me tilt my head is while setting up the backstory the Soviet Union is mentioned and I don’t need that. I’m already excited for the game and then it became US vs Russia – which is appropriate for the time, I guess I wasn’t expecting it. I’ve played through over 10 times now and I ran into the same planet once. I have run into the same problem but it could be a bit more elaborate depending on the planet. There is one artifact that I still cannot figure out what it does. I landed on Mootopia but didn’t get the chance to use. Therefore, I’m still doing playthroughs because I want to know what this artifact is for. The best thing about this game is the replay value. It’s also nice to play a Black man or a woman astronaut especially for the time period for which 60 Parsecs is set.
Kovacs graduated from the academy but, is she really ready to be a spy in the field? Right at the beginning of The Low Road, it tests her knowledge on how to talk to suspects to get them to reveal information. Kovacs, you, quickly learn that you have to be any and everyone. This point and click puzzle platformer by XGenStudios is a simple adventure game. There are two agencies and one secret society. As a secret agent, you need to figure out what’s the next move and look for clues that will make infiltrating this secret society easier. It is a lot of double-crossing, snarky attitudes and pickpocketing going on in The Low Road. As Kovacs, you’re trying to work in the field and either agency will do. In order to prove yourself as a worthy spy, no matter which agency you do it for you has to take on the Docillio. Looking for a chance to prove yourself you do what you know best which is to lie & deceive. These are great characteristics to have as a secret agent.
During each mission, there are puzzles which need solving. Like connecting the tubes in the air conditioner system to temporarily break the AC in order to continue on with the story. Important high tech tools like invisible ink, a copier, a telephone, and a recording system are vital to completing missions. This platformer is a point and click. Whether Kovacs needs to walk upstairs, get across to the other side of the screen, talk to someone or acquire new materials, all of this is done by pointing and clicking. To acquire new materials you click and drag them into the filing folder. This part may get interesting on the Nintendo Switch because you will be using a Joycon or maybe the touchscreen feature. The game mechanics aren’t difficult for The Low Road; it’s the ability to utilize your surrounding to complete missions. Some things are very specific like pickpocketing and using keys. Pickpocketing requires you to take out items and replace them with something of the same weight. Then there is matching up keys in a specific order. Some of these puzzles make you really think but, the positive aspect is there is no timer. Starting the first mission, which is a phone call to an accomplice of the Docillio, you have a dossier with information. It’s up to Kovacs to figure out which information to use and what the right answers are without a time limit. The person on the phone is none the wiser if takes five seconds to figure out the answer or five minutes.
The music matched the theme which is a 70s style private investigator vibe. Each soundtrack matches each scene. Since this game is split up into chapters, each chapter introduction has a song. The songs are really calm and subtle background music. It doesn’t add to the suspense. The only thing which creates a sense of urgency is the voice tones of the characters. Every character needs to be spoken with; the dialogue is one thing this game isn’t lacking. It is very important because there are clues hidden within each character. The sound effects that are being used don’t overshadow the ambiance, they add to it. There aren’t any sounds that feel out of place. If the puzzle consists of metal you hear the sounds of metal, even while using the tape recorder you hear exactly what a tape recorder sounds like.
This game feels like a textured painting, a bit abstract because of how the shades and tones in the faces. Movement is very fluid, not choppy. With the point and click feature, the characters move seamlessly across the screen. The colors aren’t too vibrant. Nothing stands out, especially the clues or items needed until it is clicked upon. Everything looks like it is a part background. This makes it a bit harder to spot what is needed for upcoming missions but, this isn’t a bad thing. It feeds into the theme which is, how well you can spot clues.
The Low Road has a high replay value because there is a chance Kovacs will fail the mission therefore starting again from the last checkpoint. If a vital mission is failed there will be a detailed outcome and a synopsis of what happens to each character in the story. There could be many ways to get the same outcome however, there are certain events that need to be followed for the vital missions. And some missions are going to be an automatic fail no matter how many times they are replayed. That may just be the cost of getting used to being a spy.
What stood out to me was the 70s spy theme. As someone who was interested in watching The BlacKKKlansman, this feel into my lap at a great time. I was on a role for 70s Blaxplotation films.
At first, it was a bit difficult to get into because it looks simple but, I really have to get into and look at the details of each scene. Plus, I came from playing games where speaking to everyone on screen wasn’t necessary to play this game where you couldn’t get anywhere without speaking to everyone. Playing this game on PC I mostly use the keyboard and mouse. There isn’t an option to use an Xbox controller. So, I’m not sure how the mechanics will work for the Nintendo Switch. I’m not sure if XGenStudios will add a mechanic so it will be easier to use the Joycon because I’m not sure how an Xbox controller or any controller would work with a point and click game. For example, would my joystick be an arrow and then I press the ‘A’ button to click, that seems tedious. This game doesn’t need a lot of sound effects. You have enough to worry about solving the puzzles and quickly reading through dossier to also feel pressure from the soundtrack. There is a lot of dialogue and so much of it is important. At some point I was failing missions and redoing cutscenes; I skipped those. I replayed certain scenes to see if I could get a better outcome and there may be an algorithm tied to each answer which could cause success or immediate failure, that’s where the thrill comes from.
I liked playing this game. It was frustrating once I learned that I need to talk to everyone and play along with their word games and use their lingo. There was more dialogue than I cared to go through because I kept failing missions multiple times. I had to go through the same experience and the same conversation multiple times. And certain conversations couldn’t be avoided the second or third time around because there needed to be a change in the answers I gave. I would like to play this on the Switch to check out the mechanics but for now, I think I’ve had my fill of this game on PC. Feel free to check out my livestream of the few chapters.
The Low Road releases on the Nintendo Switch Aug 23, 2018. This game released on Steam July 26, 2017.
By Kayla Cowart, Community Cultivator
Gamers are more than the white male, nacho eating stereotypes- although, I do love me some nachos. In five years, the gaming community will continue to show just how many gamers are disabled, people of color, or even queer. These are my predictions as a black girl gamer on where were headed in the next five years. Pump your breaks though, before we jump to the future, lets take a look at the past.
Women And Gaming Go Way Back
What age did you first start gaming? I started at 4 years old, playing Pokémon Red and Blue in 1996 before I could even read. In 1980, Rebecca “Burger Becky” Heineman won the National Space Invaders Championship by Atari. Heineman is a transgender woman and the first person to ever win a national video game tournament.
I appreciate games like Fortnite because I can play an avatar that looks like me. Out of the 125 million Fortnite players, 27% of them are women. I too, am one of the women who logs in to play regularly with an avatar that has brown skin and curly hair. Although, not all games have a varied character customization like Fortnite. The games industry has a long way to go when it comes to diversity in games. In five years, we can expect to see more people of color developing their own games that tell the stories we would like to see.
Momo Pixel, creator of the viral black women’s hair pilgrimage game- Hair Nah, took the internet by storm earlier this year. That’s because Hair Nah disrupted the status quo of what a video game narrative should look like and centered it around a black woman’s experience of having her hair touched without permission. Whew, chile! Let’s all sing Don’t Touch My Hair by Solange. In five years, I want to see more people of color centered narratives in video games because there is a big market need for it.
We can’t discuss the future of the Black Girl Gaming community without acknowledging some of the leaders who are in the trenches right now doing the work. If you haven’t already, check out what the Official Black Girl Gamers are doing! Founder, Jay-Ann Lopez has a team of amazing community managers and Twitch streamers who are helping BGG members partake in a safe gaming space. Catch a stream at- https://www.twitch.tv/blackgirlgamers
Thumbstick Mafia is another organization created for women of color in the gaming industry. The founders, Anastasia “Seeker” (@chasinglux) and “Sharky” (@sharkyshood) are thought leaders in Black Gaming circles are create heavy hitting content. See their work at- https://thumbstickmafia.com/.
The Next 5 Years
Call me a hopeless romantic but, I see a bright future for Black Women and other Women of Color in the games industry. Not because the gatekeepers will finally open the doors of equality, but because Black Women have a history of making a way out of no way. Black Girl Gamers will continue to let their voices be heard and skills put on display for the next five years and beyond. To all of my black women in the games industry, just know, I’m rooting for you.
Madden Tournament in Jacksonville, Florida Turns Deadly
Sunday Afternoon a gunman opened fire in at a Madden Tournament. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office confirmed there are multiple fatalities including one of the potential gunmen. There are 4 officially dead. The shooting happened at Jacksonville Landing complex an shopping and dining facility downtown Jacksonville, Florida.
There isn’t any official news of there being more than one gunman. There are warnings via the Jax Sheriff’s Office Twitter page warning people to stay away from the area along with the hashtag #TheLandingMassShooting. The Twitter page confirms there are multiple people hiding in the landing. A SWAT team is sweeping the Landing.
Gjoka confirmed via his Twitter he did experience a non-fatal wound, a bullet hit his thumb.
A witness said venue security was nowhere to be found during the event and it was through word of mouth people were passing on the word that a shooting had happened and they should get it.
There are possibly 5 dead and 10 wounded. There is a clip circulating with what seems to be a red laser going across one of the victim’s chest. We will not be posting that clip in this story. He is presumed dead.
Updates 4:32 pm EST
The GFLA Game Bar was hosting a Madden 19 tournament when the tragedy took place. The suspect, pronounced deceased, is a white male. At this point, we’re not sure if the shooter is a local or from out of town. There is speculation that he’s from Baltimore. The is a press conference which answered brief questions one confirming that The Landing is cleared.
Witnessed are saying they saw a man shooting at a park, then at the Library and finally The Landing.
Updated 4:05pm EST
It is confirmed the shooter took his own life. 6 victims total at the University of Florida Health Hospital only one needs to stay overnight. One of them being OLarry2k. We’re waiting to hear more on his condition. Twitter has confirmed he got the worst of it. Tony Montagnino, Twitter handle MaddenVtech, who was with him was shot twice but he is not in critical condition. We have yet to hear from Shift GodCole.
We’ve learned two of the victims’ identities SpotMe & TrueBoy are deceased.
Updated 9 pm EST:
The shooter has been identified as Baltimore resident David Katz. He won the Madden tournament in 2017
There were many people who beat him. Witnesses saying he was acting strange and wearing the same clothes all weekend. And after playing matches certain contestants tried to shake his hand and Katz wasn’t having that. It is said he left the venue then came pack with his semi-automatic handgun.