Kamijace

Episode 162 – Sony’s “Blocking Rights”, GTA6 and Splatoon 3 with Christopher from Franchise Festival

This week Chris drops back in to discuss a little Resident Evil of course, but also Sony’s alleged “Block Rights” preventing Microsoft from getting some games on Game Pass! Plus, GTA6 promises to be revolutionary, what do we hope to see? And Splatoon 3 looks awesome. Also! Our Studio Audience joins in this week to chat with us LIVE!

Find Chris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Brakeman90

Check out Franchise Festival: https://franchisefestivalpodcast.com/

And on Twitter: https://twitter.com/franchise_fest

Logo by Corgian of DogHouse Esports: https://twitter.com/doghousecorgian

Intro music by Riki: https://twitter.com/DOG_NOISE

Website: www.wkcooldown.com

Twitter: @Kamijacegaming / @WkCooldown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWeeklyCooldown/

Question? Comment? Concern? Want to tell me how great I am? Email me! – Kamijacegaming@gmail.com

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KamijaceThinking: Stray Proves We Can Have Any Protagonist We Want. That’s a Good Thing… Right?

If you read my (initial?) Stray review, you know that I am still in the middle of playing it. Yet I found the game compelling enough in it’s first few hours to still review it while I’m still chugging along through it. I really do think it is a great game. I was attracted to the game obviously because you get to play as a very cute cat, as would anyone else in the world, and if you disagree come fight me.

Anyways, I found that as I played the game one idea came to mind constantly: A protagonist can be anything or anyone, if it means the story still comes together. Stray in my mind proves that. This is an original story where you play as a cat, and it works somehow. You can argue that this was already apparent with games like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Donkey Kong, etc. But, I think there’s something to be said about a story where you play a realistic version of an animal over a fantasy creature.

All the same, it is clear to me from playing Stray, that the point of single-player narratives, are not always who is on the center stage, but instead how the narrative plays out in front of them.

So, if we know that games featuring anyone and anything can be good, that means folks on the internet who get upset that there is a Latina protagonist in a game are even sillier than I imagined.

Yet, for as much as I appreciate the reinforced idea that it really doesn’t matter who is at the center of the story (most of the time), I found another point nagging in the back of my mind.

There are moments in Stray where the cat you play as gets really badly hurt. Dropped from amazing heights, flung from objects, chomped on by enemies, and shot at. I found myself almost at the point of tears sometimes watching a cat’s body get thrown around this way during its adventure. It made me realize how desensitized I was to seeing this kind of violence and worst done to human bodies.

Perhaps “it isn’t that deep” or “its just a game”, but I think you have to recognize when some pieces of media trigger something and ask “why?” Furthermore, I think you have to ask, in this case, if I feel this way about a cat, how will I feel about Black and Brown bodies?

Bear with me because I get that it might be kind of a stretch, but I find this happening more and more in media lately. To help make my point, I actually want to move away from Stray.

Instead, I want to look at Ms. Marvel and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, instead. One piece of media, Ms. Marvel, has just recently concluded. The other, Wakanda Forever, has put out a trailer and announced a release date for this November. Yet both feature putting Black and Brown bodies in front of guns. Particularly guns held by officers or some form of authority. Something that, as of the past decade, has been at the front of mind for Black folks.

Every time I see this in our stories, especially lately, I grimace and feel my chest tighten.

Now back to the cat. I hope you’ve kept up with me.

If I can barely stomach to see Black and Brown folks in front of guns, and barely stand to see my poor virtual cat flung around like a Garry’s Mod ragdoll, how can I justify asking developers to use more Black and Brown people in their video games knowing that I’ll get upset seeing them in danger?

Ultimately, the answer I came up with is that seeing them as the hero, seeing them persevere is what we’re really here to see.

Heroism, as foreign and misplaced as that word can feel sometimes, is ultimately what makes this media rather bearable at times. Knowing that in the end, the Black or Brown person, or the cat with a robot on it’s back, goes through these trials and comes out on top seems to make it worth it somehow.

It hurts to see the cat get thrown around, but it gets up and keeps surviving. It keeps working to make their world better.

It hurts to see people who look like me in front of the guns of law enforcement, but in that moment it is clear who the “bad guy” is, and with any hope, those bodies are not harmed. Because the hero comes to save the day, or something. And they go on to work to make the world better.

It isn’t a perfect answer to an already imperfect question, because ultimately more representation, and proper representation, is something we should strive for. And it doesn’t fit every situation.

I cannot see how having a Black protagonist in Resident Evil changes Resident Evil (although I still want it to happen).

But we have seen how having a Black protagonist can effect the narrative of games like Grand Theft Auto, Mafia, and Watch Dogs.

Yet perhaps it is because I feel a reaction to seeing people (and cats) in danger, even fictional danger, that proves that we should in some way continue adding Black and Brown folks to our adventures. Or our horror. Or whatever game genre. Not to feel comfortable with the violence, but to reinforce that it is upsetting to see bodies–any bodies (this is the part where I include White folks now)–go through that kind of trauma.

So. Stray proves that it really doesn’t matter who the protagonist is. And for the most part, yes, it is a good thing.

We can still tell our stories and teach our lessons through the use of protagonists and heroes that do not fit the norms.

KamijacePlaying: Stray – Still Playing Review

It is not as though there is a shortage of games with animal protagonists. Whether it’s something a little more anthropomorphic, like Crash Bandicoot, or something based on myth and legends, like Okami, or perhaps something entirely different like Ocotodad or Untitled Goose Game, playing as an animal is really nothing new to the video game landscape. Yet, something about Stray feels different, or at least refreshing, and it deserves your five-ish hours of attention.

The Gameplay

It’s not revolutionary gameplay. It isn’t anything you’ve not done before. The Cat Parkour is okay at best, when it comes down to it and you’re not really fighting or doing special moves. You are just a cat after all. You do get a fancy robot companion who helps you navigate and “fight” a little here and there. But really, what entices the player, and immerses the player is the movement and physics of the cat. They are incredibly realistic and fluid. The feeling of being a cat is really captured in every aspect of the gameplay. Even the mundane things that we normally side-eye cats for doing, like kneading their claws into a wall, feel incredible to do. And can lead to secrets in the game as well! Again, there’s no real combat. Most enemies require outrunning or outwitting, it seems. Which can feel fun as a cat, but perhaps can get old after a while.

There are puzzles, which make for an interesting experience as a cat. Imagine if your cat had the knowledge to stop a fan using a paint bucket. Or could carry electrical devices to their proper outlets. You know, the things we usually have our bi-pedal or speaking-role characters do. (Also if you tell me your cat can do these things I expect video proof. Actually, just send me unsolicited cat pics.) The Puzzles can often be pretty obvious, but can sometimes be challenging, or require some past knowledge that you’d better have been paying attention to a moment ago. You aren’t without hints, however. The stray’s robot can often give hints on where to go next, and speaking with some robots may reveal a clue or quest.

That said, while it is still fun, overall, it isn’t a whole lot to write home about.

The Visuals

At first, the game is rather drab. It is a dystopian setting, after all. But even in it’s dullness, the visuals of the game can be incredibly beautiful and absolutely unsettling. Without going into too much spoilery detail, there are just somethings that you don’t want to see in a high-resolution quality on your living room TV. And yet, to know that it is so beautifully rendered, along with the rest of the world, is still worth it. There are some cyberpunk-like moments in it too, so the neon bright lights gets to standout a little as well. As I said in the gameplay, the kitty-visuals are also stunning. The realness of the cats movements, fur and expressions come through vividly. So vividly, you don’t need to be a cat owner to guess what’s going through the little one’s mind. Equally as vivid, however, are the cute and squishy, yet somehow unsettling and terrifying monsters that plague the robot citizens–and you.

There’s no UI really, aside from the one that pops up when you interact with robots or objects. The game gives you the freedom to really experience the world without on-screen clutter.

The World

This is arguably the best part of the game, in my eyes, at least for the maybe 2-and-a-half-ish hours I’ve probably played of it. There’s something refreshing about being part of a narrative that you know nothing about and, as far as you can tell from just being a cat, really has nothing to do with you. Yet here you are, trapped in some strange dystopia with robots living as humans and deadly cute monsters.

Again, the world is gritting and dirty and drab, most of the time. But when the splashes of color and “life” happen, it really happens. Things feel exciting, dangerous and tense. The robots are just as funny, witty and alive as you’d hope they’d be. The creatures, despite being described often as “cute” feel daunting, scary and suffocating.

I think to try to describe the world in this review really does a disservice to experiencing it yourself. There’s so much life in a lifeless setting. And putting the player in a cat’s paws really allows the player to think about things from a different perspective. Not to get all philosophical, but there’s something that begs the player to think about their world while experiencing and partaking in all-robotic society as a cat.

The Story

To be honest, I wish I could write more about the Story, but I know really so little, even for as much as I’ve progressed. It feels like there is going to be some massive reveal at the end, but I have no idea what it could be. Which is why I think the Story is as strong as the world, in that regard. Stray feels like it is trying to tell one of those myths or legends that serve as warnings to future generations. It is a little cryptic, and despite knowing (more or less) how we may have gotten to this dystopian future, we don’t know who caused it, or how to get out of it, or if there are any humans left to tell help solve the problem.

The story also serves, in my mind, as a way to celebrate humans, not just warn of their activities. The robots in the game are so impressed with the ingenuity, creativity, and general drive and perseverance of humans, so much so that they mimic them almost in every way. Right down to making stores and factories and having a police force.

It seems to me that the game’s message, if there is one, is that humans are complicated creatures. Unlike cats.

Also, you might be thinking about how a cat communicates with a bunch of robots, who may or may not speak English. I honestly would not think about it that much. It’s likely that this is simply the world’s smartest cat and their companion, the translating robot.

Good Game?

The sign of a cult classic is one that gets talked about in media outlets, and modded to hell. So far, Stray has both of those things going for it, and for good reason. Now, even I am taking the words I’m typing with a grain and a half of salt, since again, I haven’t quite finished the game myself yet. However, I absolutely think that this game is worth sitting down and streaming with friends, or putting up in the living room to play or watch get played with family. It is equal parts wholesome, horrific, cute and strange. You’ll laugh, you might cry, and you might adopt a cat.

Based on what I’ve played so far, I don’t think this game has much replayability. Or re-watchability. Unless maybe for speed running purposes. But otherwise, I don’t see this being a game to revisit. At least not right away. This may be one of those nostalgia games you revisit in a few years when you’re feeling like playing something single-player and puzzle-y.

$30 is a great price for this great piece of work, short as it is. And if you subscribe to Playstation Plus, you can get access to the game as part of your subscription, so no extra costs necessary! Lucky you, PS5 owner!

Overall, with some gameplay elements left wanting, Stray is a very good game to unwind and share with friends and family. With just enough thought-provoking narrative to get over the fact that you’re a freaking-adorable-cat, and enough tension and puzzle-solving to keep the wheels turning.

Episode 162 – Paul’s Last Day, GTA 6 and Nier: Automata? with Willythakiid / OneSoloPlayer!

It’s Paul’s last day as Guestish Cohost! Come see him off and listen to us discuss being cool studio workers and stuff (not Kamijace). Also, we talk about GTA6’s new protagonist, Rockstar’s new work culture and Nier: Automata for one very crazy reason.

Find Willy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/OneSoloPlayer

Find Paul on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulsRockinTwit / https://twitter.com/paulsworkintwit

Logo by Corgian of DogHouse Esports: https://twitter.com/doghousecorgian

Intro music by Riki: https://twitter.com/DOG_NOISE

Website: www.wkcooldown.com

Twitter: @Kamijacegaming / @WkCooldown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWeeklyCooldown/

Question? Comment? Concern? Want to tell me how great I am? Email me! – Kamijacegaming@gmail.com

Humble Winter Sale: https://bit.ly/37F0etg

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Episode 160 – BWM Subscriptions IRL, Bayonetta Censorship, 80s and 90s Games with Scottyemo/Scottye Moore

Scottye is finally here to discuss all the wrestling things and all the weird things and everything else they’ve got going on. Plus, we dive into BMW Monthly subscriptions, yes it is a thing! Plus, Bayonetta 3 has censorship options? AND are 80s and 90s-themed games seeing a resurgence? And more!

Find Scottye on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Scottyemo

Logo by Corgian of DogHouse Esports: https://twitter.com/doghousecorgian

Intro music by Riki: https://twitter.com/DOG_NOISE

Website: www.wkcooldown.com

Twitter: @Kamijacegaming / @WkCooldown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWeeklyCooldown/

Question? Comment? Concern? Want to tell me how great I am? Email me! – Kamijacegaming@gmail.com

The Play with Pride Bundle: https://bit.ly/3O5xx7X

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Episode 159 – Summer Games Done Quick and Riot’s Price Increase with The Final Counselor!

Matt, aka The Final Counselor, fka The Third Player is back to chat! But not before Kamijace has a long rant about streamers saying the N-word. After THAT, we talk about Summer Games Done Quick doing big numbers, but also some sad/bad news surrounding the event. Plus, we dig a little into Riot increasing the price of their in-game currency.

Find Matt/The Final Counselor on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FinalCounselor and on Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/thefinalcounselor

Logo by Corgian of DogHouse Esports: https://twitter.com/doghousecorgian

Intro music by Riki: https://twitter.com/DOG_NOISE

Website: www.wkcooldown.com

Twitter: @Kamijacegaming / @WkCooldown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWeeklyCooldown/

Question? Comment? Concern? Want to tell me how great I am? Email me! – Kamijacegaming@gmail.com

The Play with Pride Bundle: https://bit.ly/3yki4eq

Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/wkcooldown/message
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Episode 158 – Gay/Queer Awakenings, Wakka from FFX, Queer Media Representation with Kyle Royce

Kyle Royce drops by this week to discuss some media that may have had an awakening effect on queerness/gayness, plus a larger discussion on queer folk in media. Plus, some discussion about games we’re excited about in the next quarter!

Find Kyle Royce on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KyleRoycePlays or https://twitter.com/KyleRoyceWorld

Find Paul on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulsRockinTwit / https://twitter.com/paulsworkintwit

Logo by Corgian of DogHouse Esports: https://twitter.com/doghousecorgian

Intro music by Riki: https://twitter.com/DOG_NOISE

Website: www.wkcooldown.com

Twitter: @Kamijacegaming / @WkCooldown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWeeklyCooldown/

Question? Comment? Concern? Want to tell me how great I am? Email me! – Kamijacegaming@gmail.com

The Graphic Designer Bundle: https://bit.ly/39OjJRb

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Episode 157 – Being Trans in Gaming and Online Spaces and Summer Game Fest with Marty/Talaiga

Marty/Martin Adler/Talaiga drops by to discuss transness in gaming and online spaces. We dig deep into identities and how navigating them in spaces online can be both liberating, and incredibly difficult. Plus, we take a little dive into Summer Game Fest!

Find Marty on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Talaiga_

Find Paul on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulsRockinTwit / https://twitter.com/paulsworkintwit

Logo by Corgian of DogHouse Esports: https://twitter.com/doghousecorgian

Intro music by Riki: https://twitter.com/DOG_NOISE

Website: www.wkcooldown.com

Twitter: @Kamijacegaming / @WkCooldown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWeeklyCooldown/

Question? Comment? Concern? Want to tell me how great I am? Email me! – Kamijacegaming@gmail.com

Capcom Summer 2022 Bundle: https://www.humblebundle.com/games/capcom-summer-2022-bundle?partner=kamijacegaming

Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/wkcooldown/message
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Episode 156 – Pride Month, Corporations, and Big Games Announcements with Lo-Fi Knight!

The Lo-Fi Knight himself is here to discuss things revolving gayness, queerness and gaming! How it feels to be a streamer, and what streamers/podcasters can do when navigating gay spaces and being an ally! Also we discuss corporations involvement in Pride. AND OF COURSE we discuss Pokemon Scarlet and Violet and the State of Play on June 2!

Find Lo-Fi Knight/Daniel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoFiKnight

And on Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/lofiknight

Logo by Corgian of DogHouse Esports: https://twitter.com/doghousecorgian

Intro music by Riki: https://twitter.com/DOG_NOISE

Website: www.wkcooldown.com

Twitter: @Kamijacegaming / @WkCooldown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWeeklyCooldown/

Question? Comment? Concern? Want to tell me how great I am? Email me! – Kamijacegaming@gmail.com

Comics are for Everyone Pride Month Collection: https://www.humblebundle.com/books/comics-are-for-everyone-pride-month-collection-books?partner=kamijacegaming

Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/wkcooldown/message
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Episode 155 – Twitch Making Changes (Again), Raven QA Union, Sims 4 Pronouns

We are joined this time by Fable! Together we discuss one of the headlines, how games can show off more AAPI culture, and a little digging into TTRPGs and FableDoom. Plus, we discuss the latest changes coming to Twitch (maybe), a quick shoutout to Raven QA for Unionizing and The Sims 4 new pronoun additions!

Find Fable on Twitter and all Social Medias: https://twitter.com/fable_ra

Find Paul on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulsRockinTwit / https://twitter.com/paulsworkintwit

Logo by Corgian of DogHouse Esports: https://twitter.com/doghousecorgian

Intro music by Riki: https://twitter.com/DOG_NOISE

Website: www.wkcooldown.com

Twitter: @Kamijacegaming / @WkCooldown

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWeeklyCooldown/

Question? Comment? Concern? Want to tell me how great I am? Email me! – Kamijacegaming@gmail.com

Cities: Skylines Colossal Collection Bundle: https://bit.ly/3wOUd7c

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