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    Apr 7th, 2017 at 01:42:31     -    Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC)

    For my last play session of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons I finished the game. The ending gave me very mixed feelings. First off, while this game attempted to take a twist on the “rescue adventure” it also fell into old video game tropes. This is specifically seen when the brothers rescue a girl about to be sacrificed, and then end up being lured into her cave when the girl becomes a spider-creature and attacks them. I was disappointed at this turn of “damsel in distress” into the “sinister seductress”. This plot point was even discussed in the first episode of the second season of Feminist Frequency. Anita Sarkeesian explained how the trope of sexy + gross = creepy backs the age-old notion that women are inherently deceptive and evil (as seen in ancient mythology). Brothers completely embodied that trope due to the fact that the only trait of the girl was her alluring and evil nature. It also bothered me that all of the main women in the game were either killed off or had to have a man saving them (as even seen with the giant’s captured wife). I know this is a game about Brothers, but as a female player I couldn’t help but notice these trends and it made it difficult for me to fully connect with the game. It also was a jarring jump from the flow of the game, and it took me out of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I totally connected with the older brother since I have a younger sister, but as an aspiring female game developer, I notice these tropes and cliché representations. While these elements did fit in the story, in my own personal opinion I felt they could’ve changed.

    It was powerful when the brother died, and I felt it was especially emphasized when you were forced to dig the grave. I think if given the choice I would’ve saved the brother over the father. I say this because I felt the two brothers had a strong bond and were able to survive together on their own. When the father dies of old age (which appears to be not too far off), the younger brother will be completely alone. I think having a choice to save the brother or the father with the liquid cure, I would’ve saved the brother in a heartbeat. It was a sad ending for sure, and I respect the game for not being afraid to have it.

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    Apr 5th, 2017 at 22:52:24     -    Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC)

    My second session of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons included some moral issues. First off, the game begins to reveal its darker undertones as the brothers encounter a burned house and a person attempting to hang themselves. Running over, the person drops, but we quickly help him down from the noose. I noticed bodies to the left covered by a blanket, and instantly felt morbid. Moving around the cliff side I picked up a music box and delivered it to the man. A cut scene confirmed my suspicions. The man was trying to kill himself because his family had died in a house fire. I was rewarded the “Sad Tune” achievement which is described as, “made someone feel better.” This tied to my earlier observation that this game uses the virtue theory. The game had an achievement that positively impacted someone, and by having an achievement it reinforces the positive virtue for the player.

    Continuing to traverse through the mountain, the boys eventually make it to a wrecked castle tower (after some fun gliding) and save a wounded Griffin. I instantly sympathized with the animal and wanted to rescue it ASAP. I always love it when a game can turn on my nurturing instincts. After fleeing from the tower, the Griffin immediately died which struck a sad chord with me. This game may have a charming premise and pretty graphics, but it not afraid to be brutally depressing. It was a good contrast to the encounter before with the hanging man, since doing the right thing (saving the Griffin) didn’t result in a happy ending. Not soon afterwards the color pallet completely desaturates so then the blood from a war of giants strikingly stands out. I felt a little queasy splashing through the bloody streams and even accidentally chopping off a deceased giant’s leg. I think by adding bleak and gruesome elements to the game, Brothers is taking a spin on the “rescue journey” storyline.

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    Apr 4th, 2017 at 23:58:57     -    Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC)

    Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a beautiful game, and there’s not a single word of dialogue. I found this game was told powerfully just through the body language. It proves that coherent story can be told through age-old tales that supersedes language barriers. Right off the bat the game establishes a sad emotional expectation, as it plays through a cut scene that depicts the main characters’ mother’s death, and that their father is very ill. I clearly understood that the objective of the game was to find a cure for the father’s illness, and that finding it would require a wild adventure.

    There’s not a real sense of urgency as the two brothers set off. As I controlled them through the village, I found myself getting distracted by causing mayhem for the village folk and spitting down water wells. Occasionally, as the older brother, I would ask locals about the quest for the cure. But when we encountered the giant troll, the game took a Skyrim turn and got super side-questy. I liked how the game made the player help other people along the way of the main quest. I could see that the younger brother was the vice since he habitually kept pranking people, and the older brother was the virtuous one since he would be kind and always help the younger brother selflessly. I enjoyed this personality dynamic and felt it reflected the polarity of my hands. Controlling the two characters with one controller served to be quite difficult, but that played right into the relationship of the characters.

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    Feb 20th, 2017 at 16:31:18     -    The Last Of Us (PC)

    I finished up the fall chapter and delved into the first portion of the winter chapter in this next play through of The Last of Us. I started up being reunited with Joel’s brother, Tommy, in a self-sufficient outpost. I loaded up on plenty of ammunition and provisions, while eyeing the horses out front. I felt that the sudden “intruders” moment at the base was an obvious attempt by the game makers to create some action. I felt it was a little unnecessary and would’ve been fine without another going-through-the-motions action sequence.

    By the time the characters were ready to head off, Tommy and Joel were deliberating over who would take Ellie to the Fireflies. Tommy didn’t see the point in leaving his wife and safety to deliver some girl he had just met. I could understand the ethical dilemma Tommy had to face. Ellie had the potential to help find a cure to the zombification, but the risks in achieving that was dangerously high. Once again The Last of Us explored the clash between Kantianism and Utilitarianism, as Tommy was weighing the consequences of his own departure versus the greater good for humanity in doing so.

    Another dilemma surfaced right after the confrontation between Tommy and Joel. When Joel told Ellie about his decision after finding her (which required a super fun race through the forest) I became upset with Joel for being such a cold asshole. He made it clear to Ellie that she was not his daughter and that he didn’t want her to stay with him (even after Ellie admitted he was the only person close to her still alive). It was a difficult and sad conversation to witness. Joel felt that Tommy could help Ellie better than he, and helped justify that decision even more by acting like he had to attachment to Ellie.

    I was relieved when Joel pulled through and realized he needed Ellie. He chose the potential dangerous consequences of taking the lead over the possible greater-good.

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    1Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC)Playing
    2Life is Strange (PC)Playing
    3Life is Strange (PC)Playing
    4Life is Strange (PC)Playing
    5The Last Of Us (PC)Playing
    6The Last Of Us (PC)Playing
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