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Sea Shanties: The Soul of Assassin’s Creed IV

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag did a lot for the series. By expanding on the ocean combat of AC3 and making it central to the games’ premise, it reinvigorated a franchise that had become increasingly rote. On top of this, it also allowed for the introduction of the best collectibles of the series to date.

Most game collectibles take the form of random objects scattered around the world (diary entries, feathers, hidden packages), usually providing an experience bonus or easter egg once a certain amount have been collected. Others unlock concept art or expand on the games’ lore. The inclusion of these in any game can be a mixed bag, and Assassin’s Creed has fallen afoul of an excess of them in the past, drawing criticism for what could be deemed as unnecessary padding. Indeed, Black Flag had its share of extraneous collectibles of varying usefulness (I still haven’t collected the 200 animus fragments), but among these were the uniquely memorable sea shanties.

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Pricepointers – Bringing Deformers back from the Brink

I had really been looking forward to playing Deformers, the multiplayer arena combat game from developer Ready at Dawn (The Order: 1886). After following it’s development for nearly a year, I was pretty excited by the time the open beta rolled around. Unfortunately, it didn’t work on my machine at all. Still, it’s tricky accounting for every combination of components in a PC, and I had no doubt that it would be fixed by the games’ release date three weeks later. During that time there was a major mix-up, where Gamestop accidentally leaked promotional codes meant for employees to the general public. But launch came and went on April 21st regardless, with opinion of the game being positive overall.  In the days following release, however, conversation surrounding the game turned sour. Of 101 reviews (as of the time of writing) on Steam, only 31% are positive. Complaints centre around the $30/€35 price tag, the lack of an option to play against AI opponents, and the exceedingly small playerbase, an issue that’s compounded by the first two problems. SteamDB states that the most users active at one time was 83, on the day of release. In the last 24 hours there were only 3 concurrent players. These complaints have been echoed by console players, many of whom have voiced the issue on the games’ subreddit.

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By A Different Token

If you’re a gamer living in Ireland then chances are you more than likely already know about The R.A.G.E. Operating out of Fade Street in Dublin. They’ve been purveyors of quality vinyls and retro games since 2010, and announced in March that they would be opening a bar/restaurant/arcade called Token in May. While this is great news in itself, it’s also a first for Ireland, so I dropped them a line to see if I could get a few words to mark the occasion. As it turned out they were happy to oblige! The results are below.

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Women In Gaming

Happy international women’s day! To celebrate I was going to do a piece on some of gaming’s finest female leads (I still might), but then I thought that it might actually be better to highlight some women working in the field of game design and development, and to maybe pay tribute to some unsung talent out here in the real world. Shortly afterwards I realised that I wasn’t aware of any women in the industry. Could not name a single one. This made writing the article somewhat difficult.

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The Best Pets in Gaming

Pets are essential in life. It’s all well and good being a badass superhero and saving the world twice a week, but going home to your fluffiest pal is what makes it all worthwhile. Sometimes these pets even come in pretty handy when saving the world, so, bonus! Below, and in no particular order, are a list of some of the best boys and girls in gaming.

Poochy – Yoshi’s Island

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Mental Illness in videogames

This is one of those times where you jump into something thinking that you’ll have much more to work with than is actually available. I pored through my games library looking for ones with ties to mental illness, but ended up with a list of only about twenty. It still feels like there might be some obvious ones absent, feel free to let me know if that’s the case.

Mental illness is something that touches most people at some point in their life. With an increasing awareness of it’s prevalence and the impact it has on those affected, the role it plays in our day to day lives finds representation in every form of art. There was, and is, a stigma surrounding mental illness that led to sufferers of a broad variety of illnesses being ostracised as crazy, subjected to inhumane treatment in asylums and denied basic human rights. While this trend has seen a great deal of change in recent years, these depictions of those afflicted still work their way into the narrative of books, films and video games. Games like Fallout, Hotline Miami and Grant Theft Auto V employ representations of mentally ill people as anti-social and psychopathic killers in order to justify the violent behaviour therein.

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Illness and Injury in Videogames

Video games have a tense relationship with human biology. One that revolves around mostly ignoring how they work when knives or arrows or lead are introduced to them. This is necessary to keep gameplay fluid, as the months or years necessary to rehabilitate from a single bullet wound generally don’t fit the narrative of going on to diligently murder every living soul between the player and revenge/treasure/freedom. It’s a relationship that only becomes more strained if you extend it to include the many, many illnesses that can befall our fragile anatomy.

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