Monday, November 21, 2016

Gone Home A Sad Beautiful Story

Intro Screen
(11/21/2016) --- Finding a unique game is always a rewarding experiencing, finding a game with an LGBT content is even more interesting as there aren't many in the market that can tell a story before the days where marriage equality became a reality and Don't Ask Don't Tell seemed to be an aspect from the past.

At least those ideas seem to be a thing from the past, that can fade in the next four years. The time where LGBT rights experienced some many stumbles such as the the Reagan administration with the AIDS epidemic, the ascension on the national spotlight of the Westboro Baptist Church, Don't Ask Don't Tell, the killing of Matthew Shepard at the end of the decade; the novels Armistead Maupin novels, the Super Nintendo and riot grrrl just to name a few cultural and social events that gave a shape to the two decades.

The Dining Room
The game itself offers a very minimalist approach towards the gameplay; it is set on June the 7th of 1995, in Oregon. Kaitlin Greenbriar returns to the United State after traveling around Europe after graduation. She also arrived to a new residence in which her father inherited from his late uncle Oscar.

As the moment Kait arrives in the new house she saw a note left by her sister asking her to not search for clues about what happened to everyone. Curiosity starts as the main motivator to start exploring around the house and it's what it sets the events of the game in motion. The game itself is on the same vein as The Chinese Room (homepage) specifically their game Dear Esther (Dear Esther - Wikipedia). That set the goals as well the aesthetics of exploring an enviroment through the use of memories and give the player a minimal approach to submerge them in the game.

Imagery of the 1990's
The game is filled with imagery set on the 1990's, there are the faux rock and grunge bands, the fake SNES games but also books that were common to see on those days; as well names of celebrities and television shows. There are some minor easter eggs, such as the one in the photo that it could be a developer mistake but on the flyer that is below the book, KSNC (Wiki-commons) is a radio station in Kansas that back in 1995 didn't had reach to Oregon where the game is located.

The exploration of the house brings to a window of the past, at least for the people who grew up in the 1990's. It's almost as residences looked like, not in terms of architectures but the items that could be found that made references to that era. The use of cassetes, VHS tapes as well the mention of the SNES bring some sort of nostalgia about certain cultural aspect of the Americana Culture but then it brings an important underlying on why is important to keep pushing to end discrimination on the work place but also end LGBT-phobia; the game talks between letters about how the family comes to cope that their youngest daughter Samantha is a lesbian.

The story of Gone Home deals with abandonment and coming in terms with identy, but also it gives an insight through the mechanics about Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT- Wiki) separated loved ones who served in the military to be open in public; also, another important part of the story goes on how parental attitudes, friends can affect the life of an individual who feels rejection.

Maybe, the protagonist of the story is Kait's sister Samantha, who through a series of letters as well hidden messages around the house and clues about her academic performance can give the player a sense of solitude and alienation she was experiencing, but also the idea can still be experienced today. Within family niches, they can provide a key to a healthy functional adult (Husted, 2012) and prevent suicide when they are on a younger stage in life.


As it was saw in the game, the ultimate fate of Sam and the girl she fall in love with, Lonnie; showed that both didn't find acceptance and they found comfort within each other; but, to think that two young people under the age of 20 could make it on their own 20 years ago as if is in today, is still difficult.

Lonnie or Yolanda DeSoto, as a young latina lesbian who is also involved within the military in one of the most turbulent periods of the contemporary history could had faced a destiny worse than Samantha herself; she could had been the subject of rape and other forms of physically violence if she dared to talk openly about her identity and sexual orientation.

Towards Sam family life, we could see that based on her parents marital issues she felt abandoned but at the moment they knew she was a lesbian, they simply dind't cared and thought she could be just experimenting but based on Sam's diary's, she knew it wasn't a "phase" as the feelings for Lonnie were real.

As it was saw on the end of the game, there wasn't a happy ending, it was a family who got thorn out by not knowing how to communicate properly and to find acceptance in their differences. Albeit, the clues about who Sam identity was rely on the clues of her musical tastes that are spread around the house and how Riot grrrl became a central queer ideology that was situated with a subtle aspect that maybe Sam's and Kaith parents didn't noticed.


Heavens to Betsy
Heavens to Betsy (Wikipedia Commons) play an important role towards the game narrative, as the queercore band songs are played constantly on the game as the story progress it shows the struggle that being alienated feels but also on how the punk feminist music could had affected culturary someone who didn't had a voice.

Is really interesting to see how those subtle forms of expression where common in a day where the Internet and the forums where on their "baby days" where music and zines were on vogue to transmit ideas and political information.

It could be even considered a form of revolution to spread a message before mass communication took over and it gave voices to the groups and tribes that didn't had them. Albeit now, even with the use of internet and social media as tools, it is important to know that is central to keep the fight for equality and understanding open, because discrimination is still rampant and there is no way to ensure that our rights as citizens will be respected.


  • Homepage: The Chinese Room -
  • The Chinese Room - Dear Esther:
  • KSNC -
  • Don't Ask Don't Tell - Wiki, Commons:,_don%27t_tell
  •, Husted, Kris - Family Acceptance, in Preventing Gay Youth From Considering Suicide.
  • Heavens to Betsy - Wikipedia:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Legend of Badminton Prologue Game Review

Sir Pirlock in Jail
(10/06/2016) --- What a nice and cute little game, the Legend of Badminton is. The game brings a reminiscent of the old SCUMM games such as Monkey Island, Loom, Sam and Max, Grim Fandago, Maniac Mansion among others (SCUMM, Wiki) but adapted through a simple interface of three actions that are compatible with the enviroment.

The Legend of Badminton is set in a continent that is reminiscent of the medieval times of our Earth; but, there is a dispute between different kingdoms for the Earldom of Badminton that is controlled by a wannabe Earl named Sir Pirlock who is with the idea to recover the former glory of the Earldom that was left by his late father.

The game-play is quite straightforward, is mostly puzzled oriented in is episodic wise. The prologue was released on 2014 and there hasn't been any new updated towards the official website; within the exception that there is a crowdfunding process in progress (Hernandez-Muñoz) but there is not enough information to know when the next chapter date will be. Leaving the game to think that is in the limbo.

Rapido and Pirlock
The gameplay is set between Spanish and English, there are some grammatical mistakes as well some jokes are lost in translation between both languages, leaving the experience to be enjoyed at the best within the Spanish option.

The story is actually quite quirky and the dialogues are incredibly funny. It explores the ideas of same-sex attraction, failure, discomfort to the status quo and living in a probable madness.

The idea that the game is just a mere fantasy coming from Pirlock head can be well sustained as he seems himself surrounded in a heroic journey of rebellion mixed with a rat that talks only to him but not to anyone else. It is so strange how to think that Pirlock could be a normal person while other characters treat him as if he had some mental health problems.

On a certain point Pirlock starts hesitating if everything is in his head, because it's faithful companion in his adventure is a talking rat which could be probably a figment of a delusion in which he is living in. Because, there are no such things as a talking rat or giant spiders that live under a well.

The scenarios are actually quite lovely as well the character designs, they evoke this old era of video gaming that is really gone; a beautiful factor of nostalgia from an era that gaming was simple and yet beautiful. It reminds me of the third incarnation of Monkey Island (The Curse of Monkey Island, Wikipedia) and Grim Fandago, just to name a few.

The proposal coming from Carmen Hernandez-Muñoz is actually refreshing and entertaining, is strange that after almost 2 years there aren't any more episodes or information in general about the development of the game at all. It is also understandable that being an independent developer is not easy, especially within a market that craves graphics over quality, which is a reason I firmly believe in supporting independent developers around the world towards their creation.

The map
A good way to support Carmen and her game, is to go to the official Legend of Badminton Facebook page (Legend of Badminton, Facebook) in which there is information on how to donate to the crowdfunding campaign to help her team to bring new chapters, or even saying hello and giving a nice compliment about the game itself.


  1. Web retrieved: SCUMM - Wikipedia,
  2. Web retrieved: Hernandez-Muñoz, Carmen. The Legend of Badminton:
  3. Web retrieved: The Curse of Monkey Island -
  4. Web retrieved: Legend of Badminton Facebook -

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Never Alone Game Review

Finding the Spirits
(10/01/2016) --- This game is beautiful; just beautiful and as well something different from many others, mostly because of the hybrid gameplay which mix a puzzle based platform and information with videos about the Alaskan Indigenous folklore.

The game is set on a remote northern region, in which the players is placed on a harsh enviroment in which is granted control of a Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and an arctic fox, with both of them advancing through a series of puzzles in order to calm the perpetual storm that is hitting the region.

Within the game itself, the player discovers the cultural development of the Cook Inlet tribes (WayBack Machine, 2007); the story is set within the idea of inter-generation transfer of wisdom or in other words "oral tradition" as it was common before any form of pictographic writing was developing by the aboriginal tribes (NNLM, 1999) The game deepens into exploring myths such as the Blizzard  Man, the Little People, Manslayer, Polar Bears, The Rolling Heads and the Sky People, while dividing the game into eight chapters.

Into the snow.
The control setup on the game can be problematic at certain moments and as well unresponsive; the puzzles aren't that complicated, but having the reaction time and alter between the fox and the Nuna can cause several returns to the last check point.

Mostly the problem with the controls is when the fox has to jump on different platforms or trying to reach a higher ledge; albeit the other aspect is the lack of customization of the controls to make them easy to the keyboard-mouse interface, that is heavily used on the game.

Before being Swallowed by the Ice-Whale
The graphics and layouts are gorgeous, they mix between scrimshaw, polygonal rendering and a faux 3D that give the enviroment a beautiful rendering about a land that has difficult living conditions due the harsh weather.

Probably what it takes the price are the cut-scenes, they are just beautiful and minimalist, as if the stories carved in the bones gain life and start moving, giving the player the perspective that Nuna is part of the folklore rather than being an actual human as there are the hints that she can't die but rather is a journey that must fulfill until is reached.

The project is the debut game of Upper One Games; the first indigenous owned game company in the U.S.A. that is based in Seattle, Washington (Upper One Games Homepage) that was launched by the Native Alaskan Cook Inlet Tribal Council (Wikipedia). A fascinating aspect of this game and one that can separate it from others, the game is narrated in the Iñupital language with subtitles by an Iñupiat Elder; which follows the thematic of oral tradition to the storytelling.

The Owlman
A central part of the storytelling involves finding the owls that are scattered across the different levels, each owl will open a snippet of a video in which will let the player know more about the Iñupiat culture. The paradox with the owls is that it can isolate the players from the focus of the game that is to educate people about the Iñupiats, due the reason each owl offers a unique insight that is crucial the story.

There are no hints into finding them, even some of them can be difficult to reach to due the lack of response within the controllers as well the locations. It is amazing, that the unorthodox move by mixing video interviews as well historical snippets could give such a deep meaning to a game because there is a proper explanation of the symbolism that surround the lore such as the drums but also the sense of community, and even how life developed in the tundra.

Never Alone is actually worth of playing, a different experience in the gaming world as it offers a unique gameplay. It tells a story and it expose the player to the Alaskan Aboriginal Cultures with a very unique perspective. 


  1. Web retrieved: Way Back Machine, June 11 2007 -
  2. Web retrieved:, 1999. Inupiat - Alaska Native Cultural Profile -
  3. Web retrieved: Upper One Games -
  4. Web retrieved: Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Paul Pixel the Awaking Game Review

Paul at the Gas Station
(9/26/2016) --- First of all, thank you everyone who has read me, or at least read me by accident. Second, I will give some spoilers about this retro styled game for the iOS; so if you haven't finished playing, please come and read me later. Thank you very much.


The game starts in a very innocent way, almost as a picturesque movie in which aliens start an invasion plan to take over the Earth; but the surprise twist comes that the aliens are actually zombies from outer space and the way they plan to take over the world is through a pathogen that can be spread through physical damage from an infected or another alien.

Then it comes the scene where the main character, an average guy named Paul Pixel is about to save the world. The game within a general analysis of the structure of the gameplay, plays a homage to the old-school LucasArt games such as Loom, Monkey Island, Grimm Fandago and others. The menu is extremely similar in terms of use as of the old-school point and click games, but it has been adapted to be played within the touchscreen.

The use of the items is all located within one point, which is the hand located on the right corner of the screen; opposite to the SCUMM (SCUMMVM - Wikia), the menu only contains one item per use and the items can't be combined to be used in the game. Thus making certain parts such as finding an electrical connection near the sewers somewhat difficult as the player has to navigate through a dark screen.

Paul and his future wife/girlfriend
The game as whole plays with cliches that are found in zombie movies (Saathoff, 2012), such as everyone is an idiot, police are corrupt or useless. women are always in distress just to name a few of the cliches that are placed on the game; but, the story takes in a light way how the apocalypse is taken, it's show how the tragedy in reality is, is just surreal and cartoonish much as some scenarios sold in movies and television shows.

Probably the biggest cliche placed within the game narrative is how useless politicians are in which at the very end of the game is exposed towards when Paul reach a similar building that looks suspiciously to the United Nations, in which also it gives the idea that game is set on the upper New York State Area but also Manhattan.

Is that you Hillary?
While playing within the last chapter of the game, it is difficult to not see that one of the characters is similarly modeled to Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, as the pantsuits can be seen to the players but also in another nod, the player will find a similar character that looks a lot like Mario from Mario Bros. hiding in a toilet stall from the zombies.

The nod towards politicians being useless and or bureaucrats towards  tragedies, it is probably well treated as politicians and state leaders see the tragedy as a way to boost their images, but also place money first on their pockets rather than giving assistance to their constituents much as when Paul has an antidote to the infection spread by the zombies; but, there were no assistance from any public figure.

It's me Mario
The music and ambiance they are actually quite engaging, really easy to enjoy and they have this reminiscent of old school games where the use of MIDI was very common. Another aspect in which the players can find overwhelming is the use of random items in order to go outside the designated play areas.

Also, it can be difficult to know to what to do towards the use of certain items. One example is the overflowing of the urinal stall in the bathroom which is difficult to know where to aim to cause the sequences.

I totally recommend the game, is actually fun. Really enjoyable and is actually affordable on the Apple Store for US$1.99 which is a nice price for an iOS game.



  1. Web retrieved: SCUMMVM WIKIA - Users; Manual:
  2. Web retrieved: Saathoff, Evans. 2012 - The 10 Biggest Horror Movie Cliches -

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Nostalgia Trip The Secret of Monkey Island

Intro Screen
(8/20/2016)---- One of the games that marked many of us during childhood was the games with the SCUMM engine. We all know remember Maniac Mansion to Indiana Jones, Sam and Max, Loom & Grim Fandango just to name a few. The games not only marked a generation of future developers but also gamer's from the decade of the 1980's and the begin of the 1990's.

During those decades, the idea of high-end games with fully functional 3D graphics were strange concept that didn't showed up almost until the mid of the 1990's. Technically the first game being released in 3D was 3D Monster Maze by Malcolm Evans (Barton, 2006) in the 1980's which by today standard's the game seems to be archaic but also we have to consider the moment this game appeared the industry was on is diapers and it was one of the many that created a revolution. Slowly during the decade, Lucas Art started to develop games and created immersive story-lines for the players as well including a dose of humor.

The Docks of Melee Island
Many decades passed, entertaining technology developed but nostalgia itself it always been a factor towards the selling point on the gaming industry as well the hobby and collectors niches.

On 2009 LucasArt released an updated version of The Secret of Monkey Island (LucasArt 2009) in which an update version of the graphics as well sound was present within the game, even a new interface in which a mouse/keyboard interactive menu became the main interface to let the players interact with the map.

SCUMM Menu - Classical Version
The new update itself was actually quite decent, nothing spectacular albeit the recreations of the dialogues with voice actors gave a very sitcom-esque enviroment but the appeal that the 1980's version gave the players couldn't be measured with the remastered version. Albeit within the game an aspect that was marvelous done was the synchronization of the new version versus the old version of the game in which it offered certain enchantment because of the game looks with the story and how the game also reflected the trends of amusement of the decade.

Talking about the Secret of Monkey Island (Lucas Art, 1980) as a game that influenced solely by the looks it would be unstained as the game was one of the first ones of is kind to involve a good script, lovable characters and a intuitive game-play but the problem was on the sequence of the puzzles as some of them look ridicule. I.e. The Curse of Monkey Island almost entire game play; but games as these ones were the ones with little they had gave new elements to the gamer's and developers community that mostly today are found towards indie-developers.

The Voodoo Lady
I have to confess after a series of unfortunate events in my life; I stopped playing for a while and essentially I forgot my Steam account that I had since 2009 as much of my physical copies of the games where lost including Monkey Island series that I used to own fully; but finding the remastered versions and playing the games with the classical views gave a me a reason to smile.

I had never been a huge fan of the idea of nostalgia, because it involves a time where things weren't simpler or happier we probably were too ignorant to notice but there are somethings that we had used to escape reality; for some is to cling on the idea that times of the past were better and for others like me video games and the saga of Guybrush gave a form to escape some of the times I wouldn't want to remember.



  • Web retrieved: Matt Barton - Armchair Arcade, 2006:
  • Web retrieved: Steam Store -
  • Web retrieved: Wikipedia Commons-

Monday, July 25, 2016

An American Dream and the Importance of Voting

We are the people, for the people. We are dreamers, students, people who came here with a dream and goals. We left a life behind a life in order to achieve what we didn't had, or to escape from a life that we couldn't avoid. 

We are different but we are equal, we are part of a multicultural society; we can stride for greatness in a land that has given the opportunity to so many people on different lifetimes because we are a group of hardworking individuals who come from different backgrounds and nationalities.

We came here with goals, we started to work in our future and the future for our children and families; we started to grow as people and groups and we became part of this fantastic society, we became Americans over the years but we never forgot our culture, where we came from and where we are going to. The American Dream can sound as a very distant concept but to people who we came here in search for a better life, we had never forgotten that this is The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave and we hope the people who are born here will never forget that either.

There are goals that form part of a democracy, in which we all can fight for it, there is a process in which we can create a momentum that can change the social and fiscal panorama forever; we can't forget our history, we can't hate the neighbor because they are different the way you look. We can't go backwards by justifying hate and by gossip, we can't fear the future as we need to create it. Life isn’t easy and there are obstacles, but those obstacles can be conquered.

For immigrants, for the LGBTQ, for women, for people of color, for anyone who struggles to live with dignity and respect. The dream never dies, the dream still there and for the people who have the right and privilege to vote, that is a treasure they must keep and a right they need to execute. Many people can't vote because they don't have the legality, many people can't vote because of their immigration status, many people will refuse to vote because their candidate didn't make it and think they can create a form of protest.

Voting counts, not voting is not a protest is to surrender as Senator Keith Ellison mentioned on the 2016 DNC. Voting is a must and we need to think on how so many people can't even go and let their rights be validated and to think that Donald Trump, Mike Pence and the Republicans are focused into discriminating anyone who wants to make their legal status just legal, they want to discriminate against any minorities or ethnic/ cultural groups, it is wrong and we can let our voice heard as that is not the American Dream, that is just a nightmare.

We can't vote for the status-quo, we can't let time to go back, we need to see forward. We can't believe this country is not great, we can't let Trump triumph over hatred and let us believe this country is wrong and that we should make it great again. There is nothing to make great again, there is hard work to be done towards social and economic justice; we are a great country and we are a great group of people.

We can't let hate win, we need to keep progressing towards equality, women's rights and financial equality; child development, fair economical trade, free market, citizens of the world who want to live at peace, children's right; LGBTQ; we can't let discrimination win, because the American Dream is not only from the immigrants but is a dream set with goals the we all as a society we need to construct.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Theory of a Game How Many Timelines are in the Mario Games Chapter 1

(7/25/2016) --- I have theory, in which we are going to play a game. Two games to be precise, Mario Bros and Donkey Kong; why? Both games are intrinsically united towards the narrative of the characters but is the Mario timeline that unifies all the main games together until the appearance of Mario Galaxy (Mario Wiki - Mario Galaxy) in which the timeline essentially splits into three; but the idea of three timelines itself can be more complex.

The reason goes that after the recreation of the universe (yes, that is a spoiler) the timeline got diverted into three and joined by the the 8-bit era. The start of the timeline comes toward our world, a timeline where the first Mario or better known as Jumpman adventure takes place along with the first Donkey Kong.

The Second Mario
The first timeline could be considered the home-console era in which the second Mario among his brother travel to the Mushroom Kingdom and becomes some fort of a champion, here there are no more references of Donkey Kong with this Mario, but rather they still with the Jumpman, the progenitor that resides in the home world (Mario Wiki-  Mario NES)

The second and last era is the 2000 in which the Galaxy games show up and opens to the last timeline which is the one that appears after the recreation of the universe and opens the possibility of the multiverse in which different characters from franchises not related to Mario compete between each other and is also on a time placement where WaLuigi exists, mostly as an extra dimensional being in which he has never show up on the main time frame but only on the ones towards competition.

The third and last timeline is the most depressing in which Mario finally retires and conquers an island in which it could be considered the timeline in which Wario appeared for the first time and lead to the events of Wario World amd Wario Ware.

We are going to speak about the multiverse in another entry and how the different universes collide into the Smash Brother's series of games. Each timeline or era is marked by an event but overall, the main division comes with the end of the universe, that exact moment is where it can bet set as a new moment of events in which Mario continues his adventures and in another option he just finish his life in a lonely island where the events of Mario Land take place after the fight with Bowser was over.

To understand where everything began, we have to set the timeline in a place where we can see it and that is in an Earth similar as our own, it has some minor variation in which oxygen is a little bit higher because a giant gorilla rampages through the city of New York in which he kidnaps a woman named Pauline, the woman is the girlfriend of a man named Mario.

This Mario has black hair, is also short while his girl is brunette with blue eyes; a trait the second Mario would inherit but his brother Luigi got some of his father's look. The siblings didn't followed their father's foot steps instead they went and formed a plumbing business, but before that they were kidnapped during their birth by an unknown force.
The twins ended up in Yoshi Island soon almost after being born, of course there is an allegory of the storch that we can say it didn't happened and it was a mere kidnapping act by an unknown force, that unknown force turned out to be Bowser when he was a child, thus setting the age gap between the twins and Bower in between five to six year apart, as Bowser when he was younger seemed to be already capable of speech and walking by himself, but the Koopa physiology hasn't been explored on any of the games but it looked as Bowser was highly inteligent to create a plan on stranding two infants in the middle of an island with dinosaurs.

We have to understand that what we see on the Yoshi's Island versus the world where the twins were born are two separate places and probably two separate dimensions, who flows on the same time-stream; parallel worlds in other words.

Back in NYC, a desolated Jumpman not knowing what happened to his kids takes the blame on Donkey Kong, and this is where the events of Donkey Kong Jr take place (Donkey Kong Jr - Mario Wiki) in which the child of the 8-bit era Donkey Kong, Jr (Mariowiki - Donkey Kong) in which after Donkey Kong Sr, went into a rampage on the third game, then the events within the Mario/ Jumpman timeline ended.

As time passed by the twins didn't returned back to the prime Earth, but there is a division between  what happened at the end to Mario, as within the last timeline, when the universe is recreated Mario keeps his adventure but there is a divergent point in which he finally retires and the adventures of Wario start and a second one in which he continues to be the protector of the castle and the Kingdom.

But what happened to Jumpman, he became a toy maker and created a line of Mario toys and Donkey Kong continued certain rivalry until that Donkey Kong became old and retired on Kong Island. While at the end him and Pauline experienced some adventures of their own but not without missing their children.


  1. Web Retrieved:
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  3. Web Retrieved:
  4. Web Retrieved: