Book Reviews, Novels, Video Games

Game Write: Mass Effect — Andromeda: Nexus Uprising

Game Write is a recurring series dedicated to the fiction of game industry veterans. From the best-selling titles of Drew Karpyshyn and Austin Grossman, to the obscure classics of Jane Jensen and Sheldon Pacotti, this series hopes to unearth both the gems and the fluff we tend to leave buried in the credits. In this entry, we review Jason M. Hough & K.C. Alexander’s Mass Effect: Nexus Uprising, a tie-in novel to the newest — and possibly last — Mass Effect game set in the Andromeda galaxy. An immediate prequel to the game, it’s meant to shed light on the near-destruction of the Nexus and its crew, which almost put quashed the Andromeda Initiative’s utopian vision before it could start.

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Book Reviews, Novels, Video Games

Game Write: N.K. Jemisin & Mac Walters’ Mass Effect: Initiation (2017)

Game Write is a recurring series dedicated to the fiction of game industry veterans. From the best-selling titles of Drew Karpyshyn and Austin Grossman, to the obscure classics of Jane Jensen and Sheldon Pacotti, this series hopes to unearth both the gems and the trash we tend to leave buried in the credits. In this entry, we review N.K. Jemisin & Mac Walters’ Mass Effect: Initiation, a tie-in novel to the newest — and possibly last — Mass Effect game set in the Andromeda galaxy. A welcome, exciting addition to the series, it provides some valuable background information on the mysterious Andromeda Initiative, as well Cora Harper, one of Andromeda‘s more underdeveloped heroes.

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Book Reviews, Novels, Video Games

Game Write: Anthony Huso’s Bone Radio (2015)

Game Write is a recurring series dedicated to the fiction of game industry veterans. From the best-selling titles of Drew Karpyshyn and Austin Grossman, to the obscure classics of Jane Jensen and Sheldon Pacotti, this series hopes to unearth both the gems and the trash we tend to leave buried in the credits. In this entry, we review Anthony Huso’s Bone Radio, a thrilling, if undercooked, post-apocalyptic adventure within the New Union: A country not too dissimilar from our present U.S., but built on the ashes of remnant cities and borrowed technology.

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Video Games

Breaking Star Wars stereotypes in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (2004)

Developer Obsidian Entertainment was born of former PC RPG giant Black Isle Studios’ closure, and with the name Chris Avellone affixed as lead designer and writer there was an expectation that we’d be seeing something transcending the low standard of video games — even if, or in spite of, their use of the Star Wars license to do so, a license that was at the time stuck on a loop of self-created cliches and stilted creativity, and would continue to be stuck in a loop until the 2016 release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

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Video Games

Best Games of 2016 That No One Played

2016 saw a plethora of great games released. The indie scene is so massive at this point, that it’s impossible to keep up with the many high-quality games produced by small teams with no way to get their games out there except by word of mouth. Releases like 20XXFirewatchStardew ValleyPony Island, ABZÛ, OxenfreeINSIDEOrwellSalt and SanctuaryDevil Daggers, and the Witness all did pretty darn well for themselves — and that’s a lot of hours to devote to the year’s indie games — but what about the smaller titles? The titles obscured under Steam’s monstrous library of junk and more junk?

Below constitute my take-away for the year’s hidden gems: The neglected masterpieces (or fascinating ideas) that flew under most players’ radars. I expect most of these to, at the very least, show up as games #480-493 on many players’ wishlists and backlogs.

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Book Reviews, Novels, Video Games

Game Write: Jane Jensen’s Kingdom Come (2016)

Game Write is a recurring series dedicated to the fiction of game industry veterans. From the best-selling titles of Drew Karpyshyn and Austin Grossman, to the obscure classics of Jane Jensen and Sheldon Pacotti, this series hopes to unearth both the gems and the trash we tend to leave buried in the credits. In this entry, we review Jane Jensen’s Kingdom Come, a thrilling murder mystery set in and by a rural Amish community.

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Book Reviews, Novels, Video Games

Game Write: Harvey Smith’s Big Jack is Dead (2013)

Game Write is a recurring series dedicated to the fiction of game industry veterans. From the best-selling titles of Drew Karpyshyn and Austin Grossman, to the obscure classics of Jane Jensen and Sheldon Pacotti, this series hopes to unearth both the gems and the trash we tend to leave buried in the credits. In this entry, we look at Harvey Smith’s first novel, Big Jack is Dead, a personal story about a slightly-sociopathic software developer returning to rural Texas to see his abusive father put to rest.

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