Anima: Gate of Memories

The Bayonetta games are some of my favourite games of all time. Period. This is one of those things people will learn about me quite quickly–in a discussion on games, it’s just a matter of time before Bayonetta gets mentioned. Bayonetta 2 made the Wii U console a ‘must buy’ for me. When I started playing Anima: Gate of Memories, there I was once again controlling a cool, nimble lady in a manner that reminded me of Bayonetta. Needless to say it made a good first impression on me. I felt right at home with the fluid, combo-driven combat that relied so heavily on the implementation of well-timed dodges. It was very familiar.

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“To The Lighthouse”: How Pokémon GO created community in Wollongong

The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye, that opened suddenly, and softly in the evening. Now—
James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the white-washed rocks; the tower, stark and straight; he could see that it was barred with black and white; he could see windows in it; he could even see washing spread on the rocks to dry. So that was the Lighthouse, was it?
No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing. The other Lighthouse was true too.
– Virginia Woolf

Pokemon GO has been available in Australia for just a little over two weeks now, but at time of writing it’s hard to remember what life was like before its release. In these two weeks the augmented reality game has surpassed the download rate of apps like Tinder. New friendships have been forged. Introverts have ventured cautiously outside. Thousands of think pieces and hot takes have been written as the country – and the world – grapples with the new social and cultural paradigms being constructed in the wake of Pokemon GO. For myself, it has meant investing in a robust spare battery pack (the likes of which have been flying off the shelves) and spending most of my afternoons and evenings at the lighthouse in Wollongong.

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Lost Sea

It’s a warm subtropical afternoon. The sun is beating down on you through a cloudless sky. The ocean gently caresses your scalp as you open your eyes; your wet clothes clinging to your body. You push your hands into the wet sand as you wearily get to your feet.

You are on a beach.

How did you get here?

This is how you begin Lost Sea.

Lost Sea cleverly borrows contextual flavour from contemporary pop-mythology by setting itself on a series of archipelagos within the Bermuda Triangle – a real world area of the ocean where ships and aircraft are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances, often attributed to the paranormal. Soon you meet with a scientist conducting research in the area who will inform you that you were brought to the island through a dimensional rift and that in order to escape you will need to gather magical tablets that can be found on the islands in the area.

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Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book

Femininity isn’t something mainstream games tend to embrace. Masculine, ‘tough girl’ tropes? Sure, Tomb Raider is kind of a thing. Sexualized femininity? Hoo boy, do videogames have that covered. But it’s almost never that we have a game celebrating femininity for its own sake – as a virtue or as a strength. However, one game series that has done a consistently excellent job bucking this trend is Gust’s Atelier games. Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book marks the 17th entry in the long running series, and is the series’ first venture on to the Playstation 4 console. But after so many installations in this JRPG franchise, has Atelier Sophie still got the magic touch?

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Link’s True Face: An Analysis of Majora’s Mask

There have been few games in The Legend of Zelda series to have inspired as much textual analysis as Majora’s Mask. Since its initial release in 2000, the creepy follow up to the critically celebrated Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has become a focus for speculation and thematic discussion in a way that no other entry in the series has. From its unfamiliar setting ‘Termina’ to its narrative centred on impending doom and loss, this offbeat entry in the beloved Nintendo franchise has inspired many long-term fans to write and blog about their own interpretations of the game. It is my firm belief that Majora’s Mask presents a game world – perhaps imagined by Link himself – that acts as a space for the exploration of Link’s own psyche. Although Link is constructed to be an empty vessel for the player to enact heroism through, there are compelling reasons to believe that aspects of Link’s character maybe be reflected in the narrative arcs of Majora’s Mask.

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