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The first episode of Battlefield: Hardline ends with an action scene—and a cheesy joke. Nicholas Mendoza and his partner Khai are investigating a suspect’s house when they get attacked by gunmen. Khai gets shot in the shoulder, and I hold the wound closed while fending off bad guys. They blow open the front doors, then crash through the front wall with an armored truck, but I still manage to kill them all. As S.W.A.T. teams storm the house (where were you literally five seconds ago?), they find our suspect and ask me, “Who’s this?” Mendoza gives them a smile, “Him? He does spreadsheets.” Fade to black.

It’s a callback to a line from five minutes earlier, from just before the gunmen attacked. It’s a joke that’s entirely unearned: Mendoza is pretty serious up to this point, and these two men literally just met. They haven’t had a chance to grow into any natural cop/criminal buddy banter. It’s a cheesy joke that falls flat, and it’s the exact moment when I started to like Hardline.

by Scott Juster

2 Apr 2015


Concept art for Risk of Rain (Chucklefish, 2013)

I didn’t have a chance to play Risk of Rain when it first came out, which is probably a good thing. It’s been exceedingly hard to be productive since discovering how much I like it. It has a catchy name that’s also a metaphor for the gameplay.  It’s a crisp action game with harsh consequences and randomized item drops. Most of all, it’s a game full of various timers that force you into making tough decisions.

A synopsis of the content of PUNKSNOTDEAD, an indie game made in 12 hours in 2013, is explained by mooosh, the game’s developer: “12HOURS/1979/GET PUNCHED/PUNKS NOT DEAD/EAT SHIT.“ To which, I can only respond that if punk’s not dead, then, well, fair enough. I hear you.

If there’s one genre of game I don’t get to play really anywhere other than at Indiecade, it’s the party game. Party games are made for large groups of people, often for the sake of an audience of onlookers. They are games that emanate fun through the spectacle of their chaos. They are challenge and competition, and in the same breath, they are light and harmonious. Nothing is worse than when a party game becomes serious. In short, they are the perfect sort of game for a gathering of fun loving people at a small expo like IndieCade East.

Doubly so, because I can’t get together a large group of people at my house to play a party game. It takes a lot to get just a single friend to to drop by to play a co-op game. So these aren’t games whose experience I can bring home with me. Still, there is that expressionistic joy that comes from being able to play these types of games that is worth experiencing, even if it can’t be any time I want.

Valiant Hearts is not another first person shooter set in World War II. Instead, Valiant Hearts makes players puzzle through the oft forgotten significance of World War I to European history.

This week we discuss its choice of presenting the Great Conflict through cartoon aesthetics along with its puzzles and how these still manage to express the very serious events and consequences of World War I.

//Blogs

Is Black Widow Still a Hero? Dissecting the Misogynistic Outrage Against the Avengers

// Short Ends and Leader

"Black Widow may very well be the pinnacle of the modern action heroine, so why is there so much backlash about her role in the new Avengers film?

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