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Astrid Johnson

1 week ago

Feature: Let the greed hit the floor

GreedFall review

Spiders is a development studio you might know for the painfully average The Technomancer, and I’m happy to report that 17th Century empire building RPG GreedFall shows they’ve experienced some character progression as a team. GreedFall is better. But there are still more problems with this bargain bucket BioWare RPG than there are hats for me to adorn my badass, rogueish, lesbian sorcerer’s head with.

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2 weeks ago

Feature: Tremere-king me very thirsty

Watch us do a stealthy, bitey run in this deep demo of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2

If you hold the shift key to slide down the RPS treehouse’s rickety ropeladder, you’ll get ropeburn, but you’ll also get to the bottom of the tree. There, you’ll find a trap door that requires a pulley and a rubber chicken to open, and at the bottom of the gaping chasm, you’ll find me, a ball and chain fastened to my ankle and purple and…

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3 weeks ago

Feature: How many arms does the Meatman have?

Have You Played… Tokyo 42?

Tokyo 42 is many things. Not as many as 42 things, because that’d constitute too many things for one game to be. What it is on the surface is an isometric action game inspired by the likes of the original Grand Theft Auto and Syndicate, developed by SMAC Games and published by Frozen Synapse developers Mode 7. It’s not just Grand Theft Cyber-bike, though. It’s…

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4 weeks ago

Feature: I don't Twana my dog to die

You can pet the dog and manipulate time with a camcorder in Blair Witch

You hear the phrase "Blair Witch video game" and your first thought as an inexplicably loyal fan is: "Oh Gods, please don't balls it up." Well, I'm happy to say despite that initial concern, I found a hands-on preview of the upcoming addition to the found footage terror universe to be inspiring of some confidence. If you want to know more, especially about the protagonist's…

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1 month ago

Feature: Farringdon Fleshbricks

Reviews Roulette: The one with Tony Hawk on a unicycle

Down in the depths of the RPS video dungeon, Matthew will occasionally release Alice L and I from the shackles clasping our wrists (we've still got a big comical prison ball 'n' chain on our ankle, mind you) and gift us with a random selection of video games we've been sent to play. The three of us then give ten minutes or so each in…

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Feature: Streets of Rolling initiative.

How Streets Of Rogue is a tabletop RPG disguised as a roguelike

I love Streets Of Rogue. Loads of us here at Rock Paper Shotgun do, it's why we Can't Stop Playing it. I wanted to dig a little into why I enjoy it as much as I do, and I think a really good way of communicating why is comparing it to rules-light tabletop RPGs.

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Feature: Harebrained Meme

Have You Played… Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director’s Cut?

I have a great deal of love for Shadowrun. My background with its world actually comes from pen and paper roleplaying. My first ever Shadowrun character was a dwarf named Deter Pinklage who was a famous actor. I was fifteen at the time, you see, and hadn’t yet realised I wasn’t funny. After lots of growing up surrounded by buckets full of classic cyberpunk fiction,…

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Feature: More like Lego Existential Crisis

Have You Played… Lego Racers?

Have you ever uncovered a long-lost childhood memory? Experienced the sudden sting of nostalgia that drags your broken, weary body back to a youthful time where things were much simpler? It can be really scary, experiencing this complex emotion at an age you never expected to, weighed down by its Lovecraftian cosmic horror. I’m just 21 years old, and for me, that existential nightmare being…

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2 months ago

Feature: You felt your emotions crawling on your back

Have You Played… Undertale?

The thing about Undertale is, I’m not sure I have many more words to say about it. Why am I electing to write more then, I hear you ask? Well, you hear me reply, it impacted me in a very profound way at a time in my life when I felt very depressed and very impressionable. Being a massive emo about Undertale is where I…

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Feature: Shaken, not Wyrd

Have You Played… VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action?

I didn’t sleep well last night, but the sight of my brand new synthetic potted plant as I woke up at least made it a bit more bearable. I’ve just come back from my smoke break, and I’m mixing a drink called a Crevice Spike. The recipe calls for 2 Powdered Delta, 4 Flanergide, and optional Karmotrine, an alcoholic component. I’ve accidentally put 14 lots…

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4 months ago

Feature: Saxophone solo

Soundbyte: Why sex games are important and what makes a good one

 Soundbyte is back, and a lot sooner than it took for us to get from episode one to episode two! In this one, we’re talking about sexy, sexy sex games, why they’re interesting, what the rest of the industry could (and should) learn from them, and the queer erasure that comes along with blacklisting these sexy things from storefronts and streaming websites like Twitch.

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8 months ago

Feature: New-wave hipster Mormons

Polyamorous representation and spitting on your friends in Spitkiss

Not a lot of people understand what polyamory actually means. Some consider it cheating, others conflate it with polygamy, and think polyamorous people are just new-wave hipster Mormons. I’m polyamorous, and while I’m both new-wave and a hipster, I’m not a Mormon, because from experience that isn’t what polyamory is. Without taking a good while explaining the nuances of polyamory (the different relationship orientations, the…

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Feature: And the folks who make them

Soundbyte: The controllers bringing games to those with disabilities

 Welcome to Soundbyte! A podcast mini-series that stimulates your ears to explore hot topics in the games industry. In this episode, we’ll be taking a look at accessibility in gaming, and talking to the studios making specialist hardware, the people who use it, and the activists and advocates trying to do even more to bring gaming to those unable to put two hands on…

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Feature: It was all a dream

Catherine Classic review

I’ve never played Catherine before. I heard a bit about it from friends and fellow journalists: the stylish interface, the intriguing story that often fumbled gender stereotypes, and, of course, the trans character. But if you sat me down before launching Catherine Classic on Steam and asked me what I expected the gameplay to be like, well… fast-paced puzzle platformer with a heavy emphasis on…

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10 months ago

Feature: Come together

Hardcoded lets trans women be horny without being a fetish

It’s rare for the media-at-large to portray trans women as sexual beings. When we are, it’s either as predators by transphobes, or as fetishistic objects by “chasers” -- people that see trans people not as the gender we really are, but instead as toys designed to cater to their particular sexual proclivities. When a piece of media does allow trans women to be sexual on…

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1 year ago

Feature: Table of reds

Pool Panic: one indie game’s journey from cue to pocket

Perhaps one of the most challenging things about Pool Panic is figuring out how to define it. “Do we put this in the sports sim category of Steam?” Mike Robinson pondered apprehensively. Angus Dick followed, exclaiming that “No-one’s really made a stupid game like this before.” He’s right; Pool Panic is a deeply unusual indie title, and it certainly earned its place in the EGX…

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Feature: The 1000 step program

Soundbyte: Why is it so hard to start a union in the games industry?

Welcome to Soundbyte, an audio mini-series that stimulates your ears and explores topics in the games industry. In our first episode, Pixel Picketers, we're talking about unionisation in the games industry, what some folks are doing to make it happen, and the challenges they face. Let's start by speaking to Doug Cockle, who plays Geralt in The Witcher among other roles, about his negative experiences in…

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Feature: Listen and get Rezzed

Podcast: The weird, wild and wonderful of EGX Rezzed

It’s a podcast special! Astrid Johnson takes us through the halls of London game show EGX Rezzed, on a search for oddities and weirdness. And she finds plenty of both. There’s Stereopolis, a game projected onto a disc of frosted glass, or Wobble Garden, which is played entirely by twanging a bunch of springy door stoppers (pictured above). It’s an overview of the show for…

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Feature: A little buggy

Let’s analyse David Lynch Teaches Typing as if it’s a David Lynch movie

“I don't do a perfect Lynch impression off-hand, it took hours of practice,” Luke Palmer says, his words trailed by a humble chuckle. He’s the man spearheading Rhino Stew Productions, an experimental studio behind David Lynch Teaches Typing, a mid-90’s inspired tutorial game where the Americana all-star himself (or at least an impressive impersonation of him) runs you through the basics of typing on your…

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